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Scientist Who Developed Vaccine for US's Rubella Epidemic of 1964 is Now Working on COVID-19

Image for representation. (AP)

Image for representation. (AP)

During the 1964 epidemic, it was Stanley Plotkin, who invented the vaccine for Rubella, which is now used across the world.

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Coronavirus has been taking a toll on the health of humans and the economy globally. The death toll from the virus -- which has upended lives and closed businesses and schools across the planet -- surged to more than 14,300 Sunday, according to an AFP tally. As COVID-19 continues to wreak havoc, scientists are racing against time to develop a vaccine to cure the disease.

In the light of the rising COVID-19 cases, parallels are being drawn between Coronavirus and 1964 rubella epidemic that caused destruction in the United States. Rubella reportedly infected some 12.5 million people, mostly pregnant women. Due to the 1964 virus, around 20,000 were born with serious birth defects.

During the 1964 epidemic, it was Stanley Plotkin, who invented the vaccine for Rubella, which is now used across the world. This time again, Plotkin has been actively involved in helping six companies develop a vaccine for coronavirus.

In an interview with Science, Plotkin spoke on how Coronavirus is similar to Rubella and difficulties they faced while developing a vaccine for the 1964 epidemic.

He said that Rubella primarily affected pregnant women. However, Plotkin said that there was nothing concrete they could tell about the symptoms of Rubella as in case of coronavirus. People during the 1964 epidemic were asked to maintain social distance like in case of COVID-19.

On the question of competition for developing vaccine, he said that there were only a few major vaccine companies in the 1960s as compared to today.

Talking about the challenges they faced while developing the vaccine for Rubella, he said that financing that is available now was not easily available at that time.

Plotkin added the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness is helping in making multiple vaccines to combat Coronavirus and it is supporting six projects.

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India

  • Active Cases

    2,650

     
  • Total Confirmed

    2,902

     
  • Cured/Discharged

    183

     
  • Total DEATHS

    68

     
Data Source: Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, India
Updated: April 04 (09:00 AM)
Hospitals & Testing centres

World

  • Active Cases

    833,556

     
  • Total Confirmed

    1,127,528

     
  • Cured/Discharged

    234,023

     
  • Total DEATHS

    59,949

     
Data Source: Johns Hopkins University, U.S. (www.jhu.edu)
Hospitals & Testing centres