“Vaccines are administered to healthy people. Therefore, the demand for trials and safety are enormous…. A vaccine administered has to be safe, has to have an immune response that suggests it can deal with the infection and must actually be effective in the field. Therefore, all the vaccines that are in late-phase trials are subjected to very stringent tests,” he said while speaking at the IIT-M Alumni Association’s annual event Sangam 2020.
“Typically, vaccines take ten years to develop and this has been done in one year,” he added.
Further highlighting the huge investment in developing vaccines he said, “The investment does not mean shortcuts. The investment comes by allowing what could otherwise have gone in series to now go in parallel. You stockpile and manufacture while the trials are going on but supposing the trials fail, the whole stockpile has to be dumped.”
This year the theme of the virtual event was driving new normal where alumni and experts discussed ways to convert the challenges brought by the pandemic into opportunities.
Speaking about the new normal in education and research at the event, Bhaskar Ramamurthi, director of IIT Madras said 40% of the students initially said they could not join online classes. “Now, we are able to make sure everybody is able to attend classes, barring a handful and those cases also have been resolved now,” he said.
He further said the research was badly affected initially. “Today, we have almost 1000 research scholars back on campus and we have come to a situation where I would say research is pretty much back on track,” he said.