Opinion

Scientists searching for vaccine For COVID-19. Are we ready for this?

Scientists searching for vaccine For COVID-19. Are we ready for this?

Over 70 vaccines are currently in different labs across the globe, as scientists labor day and night to find a vaccine for the novel coronavirus. But amongst all of these vaccines that are currently going through processes, the one that tickles my interest the more is one that Takeda Pharmaceuticals are currently working on.

If Takeda’s lab experiment turns out to be the savior of the world, the next question will be – are we ready for this? The vaccine is more likely to be effective.

And what’s this kind of vaccine all about?If an infected person recovers from coronavirus, what that means is that the person’s body has risen up to the virus and has manufactured armies to fight against the virus.These armies are called antibodies. It means every survivor of covid19 can produce antibodies that can fight against the virus.

Now that’s what Takeda is interested in.What happens to these antibodies of the survivors?And then the big question will be – are you ready to share your antibodies to save other people? If you are ready to share it, the next big question will be – who will you share it with? If you are ready to share your antibodies as a survivor of covid19, what you will do is donate some of your blood in a lab. The lab will filter out the serum from your blood, with the antibodies intact in it. This serum will be processed into what is called “hyperimmune globulin”. This hyperimmune globulin can now be injected into the body of a healthy person, or an infected person.These antibodies will prevent the healthy person from getting infected.And help the infected person to recover.

Last month, a team at Johns Hopkins University received an approval from FDA in America to try out this vaccine. They said the vaccine has a high probability of working, based on 100 years of experience in medicine. The serum technique is what was used in 2014 to successfully treat Ebola. Ebola vaccine was one of the biggest breakthroughs in clinical medicine.

Takeda has been in the business of developing hyperimmune globulin for several medical conditions since 2015. And chances are high that they will succeed in developing one for covid19. And they have started collecting plasma from survivors of covid19. According to the Japanese company, they hope the vaccine will be made widely available in 9-18 months. According to the permutations, each survivor of covid19 can support as much as 10 persons.That is, you can donate your blood to save 10 people from contracting or dying of covid19. And of course, the survivors with the largest deposits of antibodies will be bled in large doses.

And now the biggest question will be – who will be the lucky 10 to benefit from the blood donation of each survivor?As the survivor staggers out of the lab after a sizeable blood has been extracted from their system.As the survivor walks home pale and weak because of the blood donation, will he be able to choose the 10 people he wants his blood to be given to?

Will the survivor be allowed to donate the antibodies to their families?Friends?And loved ones?Will the survivor have any control over their own antibodies?Many pundits are suggesting that if this vaccine becomes successful, then the antibodies should be nationalized.What does that mean?It means, you can decide not to give your antibodies to anyone.But once you walk into any lab and say you want to donate blood, then that blood doesn’t become yours anymore. It automatically becomes a national property. And you have no control over who they give the antibodies to. Other people suggest that every infected person should be made to sign a pledge form before being attended to.

That means, before you are put in a ventilator and given medical attention, you will sign that if you get to recover, you will donate your antibodies to be used for others.And if you don’t sign, you won’t be attended to.You can then be left to your fate for your selfishness. Others suggest that the survivors should be allowed to sell their own antibodies.You can walk into the lab and sell it for a good amount. Because other methods will lead to the exploitation of the poor. And we’ll see a scenario where the lab will bleed the poor to treat the rich.

If other vaccines fail, and this one becomes the one that mankind will settle for, it will lead to one of the most sensitive moments in human history. And the big question is, will the world be ready for this technique? Will our society that is already filled with so much human exploitation be ready for this?

Lagos!

BY RICHARD HENSHAW

Leave a Reply