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Home / Tips and Tricks / Coronavirus vaccine: when is it ready? Everything we know so far

Coronavirus vaccine: when is it ready? Everything we know so far


Experts hope that a vaccine against the SARS-CoV-2 virus will become available sooner than later.

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Visit the WHO website for the latest news and information on the coronavirus pandemic.

As the coronavirus death toll approaches 300,000 worldwide, doctors and scientists are struggling to develop multiple vaccines to stop the pandemic. But it is not a competition. According to Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, it may require several vaccines manufactured and distributed by different laboratories to effectively remove COVID-19 from the planet. -authorized a paper on vaccines published May 11 in the journal Science.

Most health experts say that the virus does not stop spreading until 60% to 70% of the world's population is immune. Others say the only way to achieve that level of immunity without a monumental death toll is through vaccines, is the view of Carl T. Bergstrom, a biology professor at the University of Washington and Natalie Dean, an assistant professor of biostatistics at the University of Florida, in a joint editorial published in the New York Times.

There are reportedly currently more than 100 vaccines in development, seven of which are said to be already in clinical trials. That means more scientists are working harder and faster to find a vaccine than ever before in the history of pandemics. However, even if one or more of the vaccines currently in production prove to be effective, the FDA approval process typically takes a year or more.

It is too early to make predictions, but this is what we know so far about the race to develop a coronavirus vaccine that can help end the current pandemic. [19659007] One more comment before we set off. This article is intended as a tool to help you understand current Coronavirus vaccine research. It is not intended to provide medical advice. If you are looking for more information about coronavirus testing, find a test site near you (and here is another way for Apple Maps users ). Here is how to know if you are eligible for a test and why there are no home coronavirus test kits yet. This story is updated regularly as new information comes to light.

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Vaccine 101: What it is, how it works and how long should you make one?

A vaccine is a medical treatment that protects you against a disease like the coronavirus or smallpox. For a deeper dive into how vaccines work, check out this comprehensive explanation of coronavirus treatment by CNET's Science Editor Jackson Ryan. The short and sweet thing about it is that a vaccine makes your body think it has already had the disease, so your body's natural defenses – the immune system – build up antibodies against it . Then, if you got infected, your body would call on the antibodies to fight the virus before you feel sick.

Vaccines usually take about 10 to 15 years to develop. That's partly because every new medical treatment has to be thoroughly tested for safety before it can be spread to millions or billions of people. The mumps vaccine took four years to complete, which is widely regarded as the fastest vaccine approval in the history of infectious diseases.

This month, the FDA accelerated a vaccine development by Massachusetts-based biotech company Moderna, which is currently in phase 2. clinical trials. The rapid process accelerates FDA approval by opening more lines of communication between developers and regulators. It also parses the assessment process step by step, so that the lab does not have to complete and submit all parts of the application at once.

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The Current Landscape of the Coronavirus Vaccine

In April, the White House began organizing "Operation Warp Speed," according to Bloomberg, a type of coronavirus vaccine task force that has identified 14 vaccine projects that will focus on fast-tracking . The "Warp Speed" project itself, which the White House recognized at a news conference in April, aims to have 300 million doses of vaccine ready to be available by January 2021. That's slightly faster than the estimated 12 to 18 month timeline suggested by Fauci, the NIAID director.

Currently, more than 100 vaccines are under development in countries around the world, including the US, UK, Germany, Japan and China. Twelve are already in clinical trials or starting in the coming months. Of those 12, a certain highlight seems to be Oxford University. Scientists there say their vaccine could be ready by fall 2020.

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Angela Lang / CNET

How good are the chances of finding a vaccine?

Statistically, only about 6% of candidate vaccines ever enter the market, according to a special report by Reuter, and not just because they don't work. There is a whole host of problems that even a promising candidate can cancel. Take, for example, what happened when scientists tried to develop a vaccine for SARS – it failed and even made people more susceptible to the disease. The same happened with a dengue fever vaccine. To make matters worse, coronaviruses are a large class of viruses and so far there are no vaccines for them.

However, this particular coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, has some unique properties that can help researchers who are on a vaccine. For example, some viruses, such as flu, mutate quickly and often, which is why there is a new flu vaccine every year. Early evidence suggests that the coronavirus doesn't seem to do that. While some researchers have hypothesized that a more contagious species has recently been developed, others are not so sure. Regardless, the virus is not thought to have mutated significantly enough to interfere with vaccine development, nor is it expected, although it is too early to say with certainty, and many unknowns remain about the behavior of the virus. virus.

What Steps Does a Vaccine Have to Get Approved?

Rules and regulations vary by country, but generally most industrialized countries have similar protocols for approving a vaccine. The following path is how vaccines are approved in the US under the Food and Drug Administration:

  • Before clinical trials can begin: Once a laboratory has researched and developed a potential vaccine, including testing it in animal models and Working In manufacturing and quality control processes, it may apply to the FDA to initiate clinical trials.
  • Phase 1 Clinical Trials: The vaccine is tested for safety and effectiveness in a small number (tens) of closely controlled subjects.
  • Phase 2 Clinical Studies: Different doses of the vaccine are tested on hundreds of human subjects.
  • Phase 3 Clinical Studies: Thousands of subjects have been enrolled to measure the overall effectiveness of the vaccine.
  • If a vaccine goes through all three stages: The laboratory must submit an application to the FDA for a license to manufacture and distribute the vaccine. That application is being reviewed by both FDA and non-FDA scientists.
  • If Approved: The lab begins to manufacture the vaccine while the FDA closely monitors production.
  • Stage 4: While the vaccine may be marketed at this time, many vaccines continue with so-called Phase 4 studies, with the FDA continuing to assess the safety and efficacy of the vaccine.
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Until there is a vaccine, expect safety measures such as face masks and social distances to be part of everyday life.

Robert Rodriguez / CNET

What happens if we never find a coronavirus vaccine?

The longer we go without a vaccine, the more likely the focus will shift to treatments, such as the experimental antiviral Remdesivir, which has reportedly shown promising results. With effective therapeutic treatments, many viruses that used to be deadly are no longer death sentences. Thanks to the same enormous progress in treatment, patients with HIV can now expect the same life expectancy as non-HIV positive persons.

Without a coronavirus vaccine, the path to normal can be more difficult and longer, but not necessarily impossible. Coronavirus testing including testing for antibodies and contact tracing efforts should probably be intensified.

Closure measures are already slowly taking up although depending on people's behavioral practices and a flare-up of infections, cities and states may bring back certain quarantine measures, including requiring face masks and social distance . Ultimately, the world's population can reach the percentage of 60% to 70% required for herd immunity to protect those who are not immune.

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