Frequently Asked Questions

  • How does a vaccine work?

     Vaccines trigger our immune system that can recognize invading germs (such as virus or bacteria) and generate antibodies to fight the disease. With the exposure of one or more doses of a vaccine, our immune system gets trained to remember the disease and fight it much before we fall ill. In short, vaccines are a safe and effective mechanism for disease prevention. 

  • Amidst multiple clinical trials being undertaken worldwide, there are some important factors to look out for to ensure that trial results are valid & objective. These include

    • the sample size of the COVID-19 patients in the study,
    • method of sample selection (extent of randomization),
    • comparison of results with a control group that has been administered a placebo
    • withholding treatment information from patients and/or researchers
    • objective reviews by peer experts in the same field

  • The development of a vaccine or treatment passes through multiple stages in a clinical trial. Each candidate is assigned a unique ID in the clinical registry of the country. In India, candidates are registered underClinical Trials Registry of India.

    The various stages the candidates goes through before hitting the market are:

    • Pre-Clinical: Initial tests of a potential treatment or vaccine are called pre-clinical. These generally include various tests done in the laboratory (in vitro tests) and studies conducted in animals (in vivo tests) to evaluate its potential to treat the disease.
    • Clinical: Various treatments and vaccines that have undergone pre-clinical trials are now being studied but not tested on a significant group of human volunteers. This is also referred to as Phase 0.
    • Phase I: Clinical trials look at the safety of a potential treatment or vaccine in a small group (usually less than 100) of healthy volunteers.
    • Phase II: Clinical trials test a potential treatment or vaccine on a large (often up to several hundred) group of people who will use the drug (patients) or get vaccinated (healthy volunteers), looking at whether the treatment or vaccine is safe and whether it works effectively.
    • Phase III: Clinical trials continue to test the safety and effectiveness of a treatment or vaccine but on a much larger scale, involving up to several thousand people. AT the end of Phase-3 trials, the candidate is ready for induction.
    • Phase I/II, II/III: To accelerate study of the vaccine or treatment, trials are sometimes simultaneously conducted in multiple phases – small & large group, or large and very large groups.
    • Phase IV: Final stage of clinical trials, this comes into effect after the drug has gone up for sale and usage. These trials focus on long tenure studies of side-effects and impact of the treatment or vaccine on people.

  • There are multiple approaches to vaccine development. These include:

    Live Attenuated Virus

    The fundamental way a vaccine work is by introducing a foreign protein into vaccinated people to trigger an immune response to that antigen. This immune response remembers the foreign protein, and protects the vaccinated person from developing the disease. It can be done by infecting people with a live but attenuated virus that can still reproduce and activates a strong immune response.

    Inactivated Virus

    This method includes disease-causing virus that has been killed, so that it doesn’t make you sick and can be used on incapable of receiving the live attenuated virus. These are weaker than attenuated viruses in getting an immune response but are safer for many.

    Protein Subunit

    Similar to inactivated virus vaccines but have protein fragments of a killed virus that are can trigger an immune response when administered to a person.

    Virus-Like Particles

    Another type of vaccine that uses only parts of the virus, virus-like particle (VLP) vaccines also do not contain live viruses (they lack the viral genetic material required to replicate) but resemble the virus closely enough (i.e., they mimic the outer shell of the virus) to trigger an immune response without causing disease.

    DNA-Based

    DNA-based vaccines work by inserting a genetically engineered blueprint of viral gene into small DNA molecules. These DNA plasmids help build viral proteins which the immune system recognizes & triggers an immune response.

    RNA-Based

    Similar to DNA-based vaccines, but they use RNA and instead of using DNA plasmids, they use fatty molecules. Once injected, cells recognize RNAs and follow them for building viral proteins to trigger an immune response.

    Replicating Viral Vector

    These vaccines use a live but weakened viral vector to carry viral genetic blueprint into cells. The vector replicates within cells to steadily produce viral proteins and produce a stronger immune response.

    Non-Replicating Viral Vector

    Uses a killed viral vector to deliver the viral genetic blueprint into cells. Since the vector is a dead one, there is no replication and this vaccine won’t provide long-lasting immunity as replicating viral vector vaccines.

    Others

    The umbrella category for vaccines and treatments that don’t belong to above defined medical categories or have not made much details public yet.

  • Antibodies

    Human body’s natural defense systems against foreign attackers, antibodies are created by our immune system when our body detects foreign intruders (like bacteria or viruses). Scientists use antibodies from the blood of people who have recovered from the infection or use antibodies made in a lab to create vaccines and treatments against diseases.

    Antivirals

    Antiviral treatments stop viruses from making more of themselves by blocking one or more steps in their replication process.

    Cell-Based Therapiest

    Cell-based therapies work by transferring into patients live cells to treat a specific disease. For this, researchers take cells either from the patient or from a donor to either transfer the cells unchanged or change the cells in specific ways to treat a specific disease.

    Devices

    Some COVID-19 treatment methods are devices or machines, including blood purification devices that filter patients’ blood to remove excess proteins or toxins that are causing problems.

    RNA-Based Treatments

    RNA-based therapies are capable of interfering with the virus inside our body by blocking the construction of viral proteins, leading to stopping of its replication inside our cells.

    Antibodies

    Human body’s natural defense systems against foreign attackers, antibodies are created by our immune system when our body detects foreign intruders (like bacteria or viruses). Scientists use antibodies from the blood of people who have recovered from the infection or use antibodies made in a lab to create vaccines and treatments against diseases.

    Antivirals

    Antiviral treatments stop viruses from making more of themselves by blocking one or more steps in their replication process.

    Cell-Based Therapiest

    Cell-based therapies work by transferring into patients live cells to treat a specific disease. For this, researchers take cells either from the patient or from a donor to either transfer the cells unchanged or change the cells in specific ways to treat a specific disease.

    Devices

    Some COVID-19 treatment methods are devices or machines, including blood purification devices that filter patients’ blood to remove excess proteins or toxins that are causing problems.

    RNA-Based Treatments

    RNA-based therapies are capable of interfering with the virus inside our body by blocking the construction of viral proteins, leading to stopping of its replication inside our cells.

  • Yes, you are welcome to share the COVID-19 Vaccine & Treatment Tracker data & illustrations on your website as well as on social media by citing "Sourced from CoVaTrack" hyperlinked to our websitehttp://covatrack.in/. However, we encourage you to use the data from original sources like CTRI, WHO and others mentioned in the disclaimer.