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Table of Contents
Year : 2022  |  Volume : 13  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 136-137

Vaccines are ray of hope, but who is the torch-bearer?

Department of Medicine, KG's Medical University, Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, India

Date of Submission07-Nov-2021
Date of Decision08-Dec-2021
Date of Acceptance08-Dec-2021
Date of Web Publication21-Mar-2022

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Harish Gupta
KG's Medical University, Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh - 226 003
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/injms.injms_129_21

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How to cite this article:
Gupta H. Vaccines are ray of hope, but who is the torch-bearer?. Indian J Med Spec 2022;13:136-7

How to cite this URL:
Gupta H. Vaccines are ray of hope, but who is the torch-bearer?. Indian J Med Spec [serial online] 2022 [cited 2022 Aug 7];13:136-7. Available from: http://www.ijms.in/text.asp?2022/13/2/136/339997

“Humanity is failing miserably with vaccine injustice. Debating whether intellectual property rights should be waived in such an unprecedented crisis, when thousands of lives are lost every week, is wrong. Why do we have such an instrument if we don't use it now?” – Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director General of World Health Organization, October 13, 2021.[1]

Dear Editor,

Chand et al. review COVID-19 vaccines as a Ray of Hope in their article published on October 26, 2021, in the Journal. They make a comprehensive assessment of all the present-day available vaccines around the globe (at the time of submission), their development-process, mode of action, immunogenicity profile, types, likely duration of immunity, relative advantages, anticipate their and our future, as well as dynamics after emergence of variants.[2] As the vaccines are developed in a laboratory, drawing a connection from bench-to-bedside is needed as never before for and by expert clinicians. As the pandemic is chugging its course with steam,[3] a pressing need to share our global experiences is there in the form of many such articles so that we make a better preparation by knowing what our counterparts are facing at other geographies. As the pandemic is altering its shape unexpectedly, detecting and measuring it accurately in all the possible dimensions is essential to raise a proportionate and intelligent response.

Nevertheless, now in our interconnected world (euphemistically called global-village), when our movements by flight spread diseases across several continents without delay; information and communication too know no barriers.[4] Some thinkers believe that when truthful and complete information faces several roadblocks, e.g., time out/deadline for publication/human fatigue at the end of the day, misinformation is not bound by any such limit, hence has a relative advantage. Fallout is that those among the most trusted of the medical publishing sometimes succumb like a pack of cards.[5] Reality of our times is that whether correct or not, everything flies at the speed of light. Furthermore, with advent of the social media, now, a significant part of global population is exposed to all sorts of news items on their phones and it hardly matters if the information therein is correct. Consequently, we discover that checking veracity of a piece of information is a casualty on a daily basis.

In Table 1 of their article, the authors enumerate name of 5 vaccines with their origin and type of vaccine. The table has one entry for Covishield at number 2 and another one for AZD-12222. There origin for Covishield is shown as India (Serum Institute of India [SII]) and for AZD-12222 is shown as Oxford/AstraZeneca. Hence, apparently these are 2 (different) vaccines which are available for use in India. But, fact of the matter is that both the vaccines are same. The Government of India runs its website, mygov.in.[6] On its homepage, it has a tab displaying “FAQs on Covid-19-Vaccines and Vaccination program” weblink. When one clicks there, a window opens by HTML hyperlink. There in point number 1 it states.

“Three vaccines that have been granted authorization for restricted use in emergency situation by the Central Drugs Standard Control Organization in India are Covishield® (AstraZeneca's vaccine manufactured by SII), Covaxin® (manufactured by Bharat Biotech Limited), and Sputnik V (developed by Gamaleya Research Institute, Russia), which is the third vaccine to get approval from the Drugs Controller General of India.”[7]

Hence, what we learn is that official records clearly state that Company AstraZeneca gave manufacturing license to SII for the purpose of increasing capacity for production. SII, the manufacturer, runs its website. It has a weblink for “news.” It publishes news related to the company regularly to make investors aware of its stakes. On June 05, 2020, it published a news where it shared a news published by Oxford University, UK. Its title is “Oxford University's COVID-19 vaccine: Next steps toward broad and equitable global access.”[8] Hence what emerges is that the manufacturers (SII) state who is the inventor (Oxford AstraZeneca) of the research product.

Moreover, as regarding difference in dose (schedule) of Table 1, what we need to realize is that gap between two doses got extended in May 2021.[9] This may be an explanation for different schedules for these two injections which are actually the same but have a different impression.

Sarah Gilbert at Oxford University conducted her research for the development of the vaccine.[10] When the virus brought an epic chaos in the world, those who burnt mid-night oil for us so that our hospitals may be offloaded, business may be resumed from historical lockdown, the poor may earn their livelihood from small shops and salaried people may go to their offices; should be given their due recognition/applause and credit. When COVID infections surged in Apr-May 2021, India halted export of its vaccine.[11] But, the export occurred at the first place as part of a licensing agreement between the pharmaceutical company (AstraZeneca) and the Indian manufacturer (SII). Some component of Vaccine Maitri (Vaccine diplomacy) was also there for sharing fruits of our technological prowess (the manufactured vaccine) with our friends (friendly nations). But, inventor always has an upper hand for dictating its terms and conditions to its users, which are mere license holders. Hence, we need to enhance our R and D expenditure for a better future and for betterment of the humanity on a grand scale. If we truly want to rule the world, suitable/encouraging conditions for flourishing our soft power of robust medical inventions, intellectual superiority, and wisdom of collaboration between different departments and Ministries should show us the path. Let there be light!

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Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

  References Top

Dr. Tedros, on Twitter. Available from: https://twitter.com/DrTedros/status/1448045818007719937?s=20. [Last accessed on 2021 Nov 07].  Back to cited text no. 1
Chand N, Mathur R, Dwivedi S. COVID-19 vaccines: A ray of hope. Indian J Med Spec 2021;12:188-93. Available from: http://www.ijms.in/text.asp?2021/12/4/188/329300. [Last accessed on 2021 Nov 07].  Back to cited text no. 2
WHO Coronavirus (Covid-19) Dashboard. Available from: https://covid19.who.int/. [Last accessed on 2021 Nov 07].  Back to cited text no. 3
Barlow P, van Schalkwyk MC, McKee M, Labonté R, Stuckler D. COVID-19 and the collapse of global trade: Building an effective public health response. Lancet Planet Health 2021;5:e102-7.  Back to cited text no. 4
Gupta H, Kumar A, Nigam N, Verma SK. When journals succumb to devious trials! J Family Med Prim Care 2020;9:5818-9.  Back to cited text no. 5
Covid-19 Dashboard. Government of India. Available from: https://www.mygov.in/covid-19. [Last accessed on 2021 Nov 07].  Back to cited text no. 6
FAQs on Covid-19 Vaccines and Vaccination Program. Available from: https://static.mygov.in/rest/s3fs-public/mygov_163056276351307401.pdf. [Last accessed on 2021 Nov 07].  Back to cited text no. 7
Oxford University's Covid-19 Vaccine: Next Steps towards Broad and Equitable Global Access. Oxford University, 05 June, 2020. Available from: https://www.ox.ac.uk/news/2020-06-05-oxford-university-s-covid-19-vaccine-next-steps-towards-broad-and-equitable-global. [Last accessed on 2021 Nov 07].  Back to cited text no. 8
Gap between Two Doses of Covishield Vaccine Extended from 6-8 Weeks to 12-16 Weeks Based on Recommendation of COVID Working Group. Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, PIB; May 13, 2021. Available from: https://www.pib.gov.in/PressReleasePage.aspx?PRID=1718308. [Last accessed on 2021 Nov 07].  Back to cited text no. 9
Lane R. Sarah Gilbert: Carving a path towards a COVID-19 vaccine. Lancet 2020;395:1247.  Back to cited text no. 10
Gettleman J, Schmall E, Mashal M. India Cuts Back on Vaccine Exports as Infections Surge at Home. New York Times; 22 April, 2021. Available from: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/03/25/world/asia/india-covid-vaccine-astrazeneca.html. [Last accessed on 2021 Nov 07].  Back to cited text no. 11


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