For the latest news and information about the coronavirus pandemic, visit the WHO website.
Most health experts say that the virus will only stop spreading in 60% to 70% of the world. Others say vaccines are the only way to achieve this level of immunity without an enormous death toll. This is the opinion of Carl T. Bergstrom, biology professor at the University of Washington, and Natalie Dean, assistant professor of biostatistics at the University of Florida, in a joint editorial published in The New York Times.
There are reports that over 100 vaccines are currently under development. Seven are reportedly in clinical trials earlier this month. This means that more scientists are working harder and faster to find a vaccine than ever before in the history of the pandemics. But even if one or more of the vaccines currently in the works turns out to be effective, the FDA approval process usually takes a year or more.
It’s too early to make predictions, but here’s what we know about the race to develop a coronavirus vaccine that could help end the current pandemic.
One more note before we get started. This article is designed to help you understand current research on coronavirus vaccines. It is not meant to be medical advice. If you’re looking for more information about coronavirus testing,near you (and here is User). Here is and still. This story is updated regularly as new information becomes available.
Vaccine 101: what is it, how does it work and how long does it take to make one?
A vaccine is a medical treatment that protects you from an illness such as the coronavirus or smallpox. You can find more information on how vaccines work hereby CNET’s science editor Jackson Ryan. The short and sweet thing about it is that a vaccine makes your body think that it already has the disease, so your body’s natural defenses – the immune system – . Then if you became infected, your body would prompt the antibodies to fight the virus before you feel sick.
The development of vaccines usually takes about 10 to 15 years. This is partly because every new medical treatment must be thoroughly checked for safety before it can be distributed to millions or billions of people. The Mumps vaccine lasted four years, which is generally considered the fastest vaccine approval in the history of infectious diseases.
This month, the FDA accelerated a vaccine from Massachusetts-based biotech company Moderna, which is currently in phase 2 clinical trials. The fast track process accelerates FDA approval by opening more communication channels between developers and regulators. The review process is also gradually analyzed so that the laboratory does not have to fill out and submit all sections of the application at the same time.
The current coronavirus vaccine landscape
In April this year, the White House began organizing Operation Warp Speed, a coronavirus vaccine task force that identified 14 vaccine projects that will focus on rapid tracking, according to Bloomberg. The “Warp Speed” project itself, which the White House confirmed during a press conference in April, has set itself the goal of making 300 million doses of vaccine available by January 2021. This is slightly faster than the estimated 12 to 18 month schedule from Fauci, the NIAID director.
Over 100 vaccines are currently being developed in countries around the world, including the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, Japan and China. Twelve are either already in clinical trials or will begin in the next few months. Of these 12, Oxford University appears to be a special highlight. Scientists there say that their vaccine could be ready by autumn 2020.
What are the chances of finding a vaccine?
Statistically, according to a Reuter special report, only about 6% of vaccine candidates ever make it onto the market, and not just because they don’t work. There are a number of problems that could even cancel a promising candidate. Take, for example, what happened when scientists tried to develop a SARS vaccine – it failed and made people more susceptible to the disease. The same thing happened with a dengue vaccine. To make matters worse, coronaviruses are a large class of viruses, and so far none of them have vaccines.
However, this particular coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, has some unique features that can help researchers work on a vaccine. For example, some viruses such as the flu mutate quickly and frequently, which is why there is a new flu vaccine every year. Early evidence suggests that the corona virus does not appear to be doing this. Although some researchers have assumed that a more contagious strain has developed recently, others are not so sure. In both cases, it is believed that the virus has not yet mutated significantly enough to disrupt vaccine development, nor is it expected, although it is too early to say for sure, and there are still many unknowns about it the behavior of the virus.
Fighting the Corona Virus: COVID-19 testing, vaccine research, masks, ventilators, and more
What steps does a vaccine have to go through to be approved?
The rules and regulations vary from country to country, but in general most industrialized countries have similar protocols for vaccine approval. The following is how vaccines are approved in the United States under the Food and Drug Administration:
- Before clinical trials can begin: Once a laboratory has researched and developed a potential vaccine that includes testing in animal models and elaborating manufacturing and quality control processes, it can request the FDA to start clinical trials.
- Phase 1 clinical studies: A small number (dozens) of closely monitored subjects tested the vaccine for safety and efficacy.
- Phase 2 clinical studies: Different doses of the vaccine are being tested on hundreds of people.
- Phase 3 clinical trials: Thousands of subjects are enrolled to measure the overall effectiveness of the vaccine.
- When a vaccine passes all three phases: The laboratory must then apply to the FDA for a license to manufacture and distribute the vaccine. This application will be reviewed by both FDA and non-FDA scientists.
- If approved: The laboratory begins producing the vaccine, while the FDA closely monitors production.
- Phase 4: Although the vaccine may be on the market at this time, many vaccines continue the so-called Phase 4 studies, in which the FDA continues to review the safety and effectiveness of the vaccine.
What if we never find a coronavirus vaccine?
The longer we get along without a vaccine, the more likely it will focus on treatments like that, which has reportedly shown promising results. With effective therapeutic treatments, many viruses that used to be fatal are no longer death sentences. For example, thanks to enormous advances in treatment, patients with HIV can now expect the same life expectancy as non-HIV-positive people.
Without a coronavirus vaccine, the path to normalcy can be more difficult and longer, but it’s not necessarily impossible., including , and Efforts should likely be stepped up.
Blocking measures are already in place, even though and a possible recurrence of infections, cities and states can bring back certain quarantine measures, including the requirement and . After all, the world population can reach the rate required for 60% to 70% to protect those who are not immune.