Coronavirus Vaccine: Will We Have it Anytime Soon?

Coronavirus Vaccine: Will We Have it Anytime Soon? 

Last updated on April 17th, 2020

The number of people infected with the COVID-19 outbreak has crossed a million. Yet there is no vaccination in hand. While scientists are racing against time to develop a coronavirus vaccine, the virus has already killed more than 100,000 people globally.

Though it seems like the situation is getting better in Italy and China as no new infection or death cases are now being reported from these two countries, the researchers believe more such outbreaks can occur if a vaccine isn’t developed.

The development of a vaccination is usually a lengthy process that might even take years despite the efforts of laboratories, private companies and governments. After a vaccine is developed in a laboratory, it is tested on animals. If the vaccine proves to be safe and efficient in this pre-clinical phase, it then enters the clinical or human testing phase, wherein it is tested upon humans.

Researchers believe that it could take up to one year or a little more than that to develop an effective, safe and easily available coronavirus vaccine. According to the WHO, three vaccine candidates are in the clinical testing phase, while 67 potential vaccines are in preclinical phase.

As of now, many countries are using hydroxychloroquine or the anti-malarial drug similar to chloroquine is being used to treat mildly ill COVID-19 patients.

The UK’s chief scientific adviser, Sir Patrick Vallance, and his US counterpart, Anthony Fauci have been saying that it would take another 12-18 months to develop the coronavirus vaccine. However, there are other experts who believe the vaccine could be available by the end of July.

Marian Wentworth, president and CEO of Management Sciences for Health, a Massachusetts-based not-profit organisation that seeks to build resilient health systems, and a long-time observer of vaccine development, said, “It really depends on what you mean by ‘having a vaccine’. If you mean one that can be used in a mass vaccination campaign, allowing us all to get on with our lives, then 12 to 18 months is probably right.”

Pennsylvania-based Inovio Pharmaceuticals is also testing a coronavirus vaccine on human participants in Philadelphia and Kansas City, Missouri.

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