Dr Pragya Yadav, a scientist at ICMR-National Institute of Virology, speaks about the challenges.

New Delhi: The pandemic has taught us a story of resilience, love and, health. Although 2020 is already over, the memory has not faded. Scientists now think that newly emerging diseases could start another pandemic, but the lessons from Covid must not be forgotten. However, the challenges remain for the scientist, who struggle to understand the nature of the virus mutation that occurred for a shorter period. In such a scenario, it is difficult to comprehend the creation of universal vaccines to combat all infections.
Speaking about the challenges, a scientist at ICMR-National Institute of Virology (NIV), Dr Pragya Yadav told The Sunday Guardian, “The WHO experts decided which virus or disease could turn out to be the next pandemic. Diseases such as Zika, hemorrhagic fever, Nipah virus and so on are believed to be deadly anytime in the near future. However, several diseases that have occurred for a short period of time cannot be studied thoroughly and therefore the vaccine efficacy remains questionable.”
Several media outlets have covered the pandemic’s history and vaccine campaigns. Similar to this, an exhibition titled “Vaccines Injecting Hope,” a work of art intended to help future generations understand the severity of the pandemic, was inaugurated on 15 November and will travel throughout India, including Delhi, Nagpur, Mumbai, Bengaluru, and Kolkata till September 2025 with a goal of reaching more than 2 million people. Alongside, the specially designed Mobile Science Exhibition (MSE) Bus will also travel all the nearby areas to share the story of vaccinations saving precious lives.
Speaking about the exhibition, Arijit Dutta Choudhary, the director general of the National Council of Science Museums, said, “This is another project after the grand success of the exhibition Superbugs: The End of Antibiotics. We have collaborated with the SMG group, in London for raising awareness among the masses about the importance of vaccines. This time we have added one Mobile Science Exhibition (MSE) bus to travel and communicate the message of the exhibition in the rural areas.”
The Sunday Guardian visited the exhibition and witnessed the stories of the Covid spectrum unfolding virtually and through artwork. The exhibition has a section such as the arrival of the new virus, designing a new vaccine, trials, results, approval of vaccines, scaling up and mass production, vaccine rollout and lastly, living with Covid. The exhibition also shows the development of vaccination from a historical and contemporary view.
In front of the entrance, a beautiful sculpture presents the relationship between humans with vaccines. “Through the lens”, an artwork commissioned by British Council in collaboration with Delhi-based sculptor Sushank Kumar and London-based playwright Nigel Townsend explores the historical relationship that people of all races have had with vaccines. This relationship is also discussed using braille for visually-impaired people.
The exhibition continues with a display of the variations in the kinds of masks worn during the bubonic plague and Covid. The idea behind masks in those days was to disseminate a pleasant scent and keep infection at bay. If one were to look at the beaks of the masks and wonder about their shape, the beak is stuffed with herbs. A container that was specially created to hold the sample of Covid patients was also on display at the event. Additionally, the exhibition features the first example of the Kerala-Covid patient, which contributed to the current vaccine development. Real lab plates with the Omicron virus were also displayed in the specially-made container. The narrator further stated to this correspondent that a human cell is grown on a certain plate, and the vaccine is then injected into the cell. Then, the virus is also put into the vaccine-treated cell to see if the vaccinated cells are able to stop the virus growth.
The real suit, worth Rs 16 lakh, worn by Dr Pragya Yadav in the BSL or Biosafety labs is also displayed here. Alongside, the first vial of Covaxin produced by Bharat Biotech was also kept in a container. Trials, bioreactors, and information about real trial volunteers are also displayed here. Some new emerging diseases and reemerging/resurging diseases in various countries are also displayed here. For the younger generation, it is a worthwhile tour to learn about the development of vaccines and the Covid journey.