Written by : Associate Prof. Dr. Long Chiau Ming
COVID-19 now took almost 1.23 million lives. People are desperate to get rid of the global pandemic once and for all. Face masks, social distancing, work-from-home measures, and lockdowns are no longer enough to contain the virus as people are getting weary. Undeniably, we are exhausted with, if not sick of, the long and seemingly never ending fight against COVID-19. All hope now lies on the COVID-19 vaccine, which could help flatten the transmission curve, or perhaps might even eradicate the virus from our community.
The message is clear: we need a vaccine to get our lives back to normal, perhaps not 100% as we have before, but at least our frontliners could take a breath, which they very well deserved.
When will we get our hands on the vaccine that is safe and effective? Early this year, experts predicted that we might be able to get vaccinated by the end of the year. In reality, we might be too optimistic. Unlike H1N1 flu vaccines, the vaccine that we are craving so much for is not easy to put in the market, as the novel coronavirus do not have readily available processes to work on. The challenge is to develop an entirely new vaccine and test it to make sure it does its purpose.
Current race for COVID-19 vaccines involves the investigation of existing drugs for new therapeutic purposes. Worldwide large-scale clinical studies of oral polio vaccine against nonspecific prevention of disease found that it was effective against infection caused by non-polio virus. The secret lies in the weakened viruses that stimulate the innate immune system more broadly to fight new pathogens.
The good news is, we might be able to use the vaccines that we have now to fight COVID-19, with an approved pathway and proven track record of success.
For instance, the polio vaccine has been shown to stimulate innate immune responses for a prolonged period of time, what we refer to as trained immunity. Both the poliovirus and coronavirus are positive-strand RNA viruses, which means it is likely that they will induce and be affected by common innate immunity mechanisms. More than one serotype can be used sequentially to prolong protection, and the vaccine is cheap and easy to administer. Over 1 billion doses of oral polio virus vaccine are produced and used annually in more than 140 countries. In simple terms, polio vaccine could be used for COVID-19 prevention.
ABOUT HO WAH GENTING BERHAD
Ho Wah Genting Berhad (“HWGB” or the “Company”) is principally engaged in investment holdings and the provision of management services to its subsidiaries. The Company had on 30 June 2020 diversified its existing businesses to include healthcare related industry which mainly involved in health supplement, biotechnology and health technology. In addition, the Company and its subsidiaries (“HWGB Group” or the “Group”) are also engaging in the businesses of investment holdings; manufacturing of wires and cables and moulded power supply cord sets and cable assemblies for electrical and electronic devices and equipment; trading of wires and cables; and travel agent and tour related services.
Issued by: Esente Communications (M) Sdn. Bhd. on behalf of Ho Wah Genting Berhad
Date: 11 November 2020
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