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Home / Tips and Tricks / Progression of the Coronavirus Vaccine: Moderna's Hope and Doubt. This is what we know so far

Progression of the Coronavirus Vaccine: Moderna's Hope and Doubt. This is what 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.

Will there be a coronavirus vaccine? Will American company Moderna take the lead? Experts are hopeful that we will see a coronavirus vaccine sooner rather than later, but there is still no cure for the virus that causes COVID-19 and it often takes years for vaccines to develop, approve, make, and distribute worldwide. However, there is increased activity and a strong desire in the medical community to speed up the process.

In fact, as states and countries slowly emerge from closure measures intended to curb the spread of the coronavirus, doctors and scientists around the world are racing to get vaccines to end the pandemic, which has already claimed more than 320,000 lives worldwide. Although just four months have passed since a cluster of unusual pneumonia cases in Wuhan, China first warned the world about a new disease now known as COVID-19, at least half a dozen vaccine development projects are already reporting encouraging progress, with much more in development.

One more comment before we set off. This article is regularly updated as new information comes to light, and is intended as a general overview and not as a source of medical advice. If you are looking for more information about coronavirus testing, you can find a test site near you. Here is how to know if you are eligible for a test and why there are no home coronavirus test kits yet.

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The Latest News Makers: Moderna and Oxford University

Moderna, a Massachusetts biotech company, is making headlines for developing the coronavirus vaccine – both positive and negative. Monday reported reports that Moderna's initial trials were promising for immunity, boosting Moderna's stockpile. On Tuesday, scientists questioned the company's data, causing the same stocks to falter.

Moderna is the beneficiary of the United States Food and Drug Administration program to accelerate a vaccine. The rapid process speeds up approval by allowing selected laboratories to submit their assessment process in stages, rather than submitting all sections of the application at once, which is the usual way. The company conducted Phase 1 clinical trials and reported preliminary data that it claims supports the transition to a larger Phase 2 trial. You can learn more about the vaccine candidate, mRNA-1273 here.

Another vaccine is being developed at Oxford University in the United Kingdom. Scientists say their vaccine could be ready by fall 2020. Oxford has partnered with pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca, which started Phase 1 trials in humans in April.

Scientists say in a paper that the results of the Oxford experiments on mice and rhesus monkeys are mixed, but speculate that people who eventually take the vaccine may still be able to spread the virus. You can read more about this effort, called ChAdOx1 nCoV-19, on the AstraZeneca website.

Will there be only one vaccine for everyone?

We won't know for a long time, but Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, suggests that it takes several vaccines made and distributed by different labs to effectively eradicate. COVID-19 of the planet. Fauci co-authored a paper on vaccines published May 11 in the journal Science.

Vaccines: How Long It Usually Takes to Make

A vaccine is a medical treatment that protects you against a disease such as coronavirus or smallpox. For a deeper dive into how vaccines work, see this in-depth 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 become infected, your body calls 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 has lasted four years, which is widely regarded as the fastest vaccine approval in the history of infectious diseases.

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Why A Vaccine May Be The Key To Ending The Pandemic

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

What else is there? is happening with the development of the coronavirus vaccine

More than 100 vaccines are currently in development, seven of which are said to be in clinical trials earlier this month. 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.

Last 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.

At the time of writing, 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.

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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 Reuters, 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 none of them have vaccines so far.

However, this particular coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2 has some unique properties that can help researchers working 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, it is believed that the virus has not mutated significantly enough to interfere with vaccine development, and it is not expected, although it is too early to say with certainty, and there are still many uncertainties about the behavior of the virus.

What Steps Do Vaccines 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 FDA:

  • Before clinical trials can begin: Once a laboratory has researched and developed a potential vaccine, including testing in animal models and manufacturing elaboration 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 monitored subjects.
  • Phase 2 Clinical Trials: 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 permit 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.
  • Phase 4: Although the vaccine may be marketed at this time, many vaccines continue to conduct 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 drug 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 progress in treatment, patients with HIV can now expect the same life expectancy as non-HIV positive people.

Without a coronavirus vaccine, the way back 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 possible 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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