It’s been almost a year since COVID-19 was registered as an urgent threat, and although the panic at the scenarios that filled imaginations in those early months – of million of imminent deaths, medical systems collapsing and shortage of food supplies – has somewhat sustained, the virus has not. Now, as we move towards the end of November, the world is heading towards the second wave but there is a glimmer of hope that we are in a better position to tackle it with the help of science and technological advancement.

During the time of SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) outbreak in 2002, it took scientists more than a year to decode the genome of the virus, whereas thanks to tech advancements, the Coronavirus genome was identified within a month.

The last ten-days or so have been a breath of fresh air as pharmaceutical companies have developed vaccines which have shown positive results. On November 9, Pfizer and its German partner, BioNTech, reported that their coronavirus vaccine is more than 90 percent effective. On Monday, the biotech company Moderna Inc. said that its experimental vaccine was 94.5% effective in combating the disease. according to the analysis of its clinical trial.

Also on Tuesday, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced (FDA) that it has approved the first COVID-19 self-testing kit that can give results within 30 minutes. The kit can also be used at hospitals and point-of-care settings but samples should be collected by a healthcare provider if the individuals who are tested are younger than 14 years.

“While COVID-19 diagnostic tests have been authorized for at-home collection, this is the first that can be fully self-administered and provide results at home,” FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn said.

Other than that Sputnik-V, a Russian vaccine has also shown positive results. Although the peer results have not been peer reviewed or published yet but the vaccine has shown 92% effectiveness against COVID-19.

As Covid-19’s first site of attack, China led the battle against the Coronavirus, and it turned to technology as a tool to help stop the spread of the disease. In China, robots were on the front line to prevent the disease of COVID-19. In many hospitals, robots were also performing diagnosis and conducting thermal imaging. They were preparing meals in the hospitals, spraying disinfectant on vending machines. A hospital in Wuhan, the epicentre of the outbreak was completely staffed by robots. In some cities in China, robots were conducting thermal imaging while at some facilities they were transporting the medical samples.

South Korea was one of the few countries in the world to bring the COVID-19 outbreak under control. It controlled the virus by increasing their testing capability but more importantly relied on high-tech solutions. They launched an app that tracks the location of all new visitors to the country; people who violate quarantine have to wear a location-tracking bracelet; “smart city” tech is being deployed to bolster contact tracing networks.

Japan employed Fugaku, the fastest supercomputer on the planet is being used for country’s fight against the pandemic. This machine can perform more than 415 qaudrillion computations a second and has already worked out how breath droplets spread. it will be fully operational by next year and experts are hoping the 130bn yen ($1.2bn) supercomputer will help identify treatments for Covid-19 from about 2,000 existing drugs, including those that have yet to reach the clinical trial stage.

The world’s hopes of getting life back to normal are pinned on a vaccine but till then our best shot at combating this deadly virus is to follow the Standard Order Procedures (SOPs) of wearing a mask and staying away from people.

The author is a member of staff and heads the sports and business desks at The Correspondent. He mainly lives in the shadows as a ghost writer so you may have read his work and not even known it. He can be reached at


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