Thursday, 21 May 2020 01:34

Difficult to Make Vaccine due to COVID-19 Mutation: Biologist

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Difficult to make vaccine due to COVID-19 mutation: biologist

Professor of Cell Biology at Brawijaya University in Malang, East Java, Sutiman (ANTARA/HO/UNIVERSITAS BRAWIJAYA/End)

A professor of cell biology at Malang-based Brawijaya University has said the tendency of thecoronavirus to mutate into local virus as that has made it difficult for researchers to develop a universal vaccine.

"The coronavirus has spread all over the world, and has mutated into local virus. As if it has shown an anti-globalization movement," Professor Sutiman said in Malang, East Java Province, on Wednesday while commenting on researchers' efforts to develop a COVID-19 vaccine.  

This behavior of COVID-19 has made researchers uneasy as they try to develop a single vaccine that is fit for all people, irrespective of location, he said, adding that this has even become a hurdle for the medical industry’s current school of thought on developing vaccines or medicines.

In this regard, Sutiman said, the argument supporting the consumption of "jamu" (traditional herbal drink) is not aimed at curing specific diseases. Instead, it is aimed at maintaining the quality of life so that the benefits of "jamu" could potentially help tackle COVID-19, he added.

Traditionally, consuming “jamu” is believed to help the human body to survive and ward off disease, he explained. Amid the pandemic, “jamu”, a product of local wisdom, often rejected by modern medicine, has become well-known.

Another challenging reality related to the coronavirus pandemic is the fact that there are people who are asymptomatic (OTGs), that is, they do not present any COVID-19 symptoms, Sutiman said.

He said he believes that a majority of the people can be categorized as OTGs. They look healthy so they are able to perform routine activities, but they can potentially transmit the disease to other people, he noted.

Indonesia has been battling the spread of the new coronavirus disease (COVID-19) over the past three months. The Indonesian Government officially announced the country's first two confirmed COVID-19 cases on March 2 this year.

The initial outbreak of the deadly virus was reported in Wuhan at the end of December, 2019. China has been blamed for its lack of transparency and goodwill to tell the truth from the beginning that the virus could transmit among humans, due to which COVID-19 spread across the world.

The US, which has seen a large number of COVID-19 deaths, has accused China of having "intentionally concealed the severity of the coronavirus from the international community" (CNN, May 4, 2020).

Washington argued that "China likely cut its exports of medical supplies prior to its January WHO (World Health Organization) notification that COVID-19 is a contagion", according to a Department of Homeland Security report that CNN quoted on May 4, 2020.

Several developed countries, such as the United States of America, the United Kingdom, and Australia are working on developing a vaccine for COVID-19, but none of them has so far made any breakthrough. (ANTARA)

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