Is There A Vaccine For The Coronavirus Disease?

The novel coronavirus disease has been spreading around the world, rampantly, with no relief in sight. The symptoms of the disease are very similar to those of the common cold and the flu, but unlike the flu vaccine, as on April 17, 2020, there are still no drugs that can kill this new virus. There have been many articles on the news claiming that a virus has been discovered for preventing the COVID-19 infection, but how much truth is there in such reports? Let’s find out if there is a vaccine for the coronavirus disease.

Is There A Vaccine For The Coronavirus Disease?

Is There A Vaccine For The Coronavirus Disease?

As of today i.e. April 17, 2020, there is no vaccine that can protect people against this strain of the novel coronavirus. There are also no drugs that can kill the virus.(1, 2)

However, research is going on at breakneck speed, and there are already more than 20 vaccines that are presently under development. Among the ones that are under development at the moment, the most promising ones are discussed below.

In March 2020, the first human trial for a vaccine against the COVID-19 vaccine was undertaken by scientists from the US city of Seattle.(3) The team of scientists took the unusual step of skipping the testing of the vaccine on animals to determine the safety or efficacy of the vaccine. Results are still awaited.

At the beginning of April 2020, scientists in Australia announced that they have begun testing at least two potential coronavirus vaccines in laboratory trials. These vaccines, manufactured by the Oxford University and Inovio Pharmaceutical, were fast-tracked and cleared for animal testing by the World Health Organization (WHO).(4)

Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) has already administered the vaccine samples into ferrets, which are known to contract the coronavirus in the same manner as humans. The researchers are hopeful to move to the human testing stage by the end of April itself.

There are nearly 500 clinical studies going on worldwide, in various stages of development on a potential vaccine. All of these are registered with the World Health Organization Clinical Trial Registry at the end of March 2020.(5)

However, as the entire global community races to develop a coronavirus vaccine, it is still going to take at least 12 to 18 months to finish and become available in the market. During this challenging time, as the pandemic continues to wreak havoc around the world, this timeline of vaccine development seems to be excruciatingly long. However, it is expected that as new technologies get combined with international cooperation to fight this pandemic, it will enable a faster response to develop a potential vaccine and bring it to the market.

Conclusion

As on April 17, 2020, there is no vaccine at present for protecting against the novel coronavirus disease. However, the entire global community is working together to produce a vaccine for fighting this pandemic. It is likely that if a vaccine is developed in a record amount of time, then there should be a COVID-19 vaccine available on the market by sometime next year. There is no doubt that a vaccine against this coronavirus disease is extremely important as it will provide protection from this virus and save millions of lives around the world.

References:

  1. Fauci, A.S., Lane, H.C. and Redfield, R.R., 2020. Covid-19—navigating the uncharted.
  2. Gates, B., 2020. Responding to Covid-19—a once-in-a-century pandemic?. New England Journal of Medicine.
  3. BBC News. 2020. Coronavirus: US Volunteers Test First Vaccine. [online] Available at: <https://www.bbc.com/news/health-51906604> [Accessed 16 April 2020].
  4. BBC News. 2020. Scientists Begin Tests On Two Possible Vaccines. [online] Available at: <https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-australia-52130402> [Accessed 16 April 2020].
  5. Cheng, M.P., Lee, T.C., Tan, D.H. and Murthy, S., 2020. Generating randomized trial evidence to optimize treatment in the COVID-19 pandemic. CMAJ, 192(15), pp.E405-E407.

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