Innovators are sprinting to develop inoculations against the novel coronavirus. Here, we summarize the latest information on research timelines and the potential impact of a vaccine on the pandemic—and society.
When the novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) emerged in late 2019 and began its spread around the world, the global innovation community mobilized quickly to initiate the development of a vaccine for COVID-19, the disease it causes. Hundreds of individuals and institutions—in academia, biotechnology, government, and pharmaceuticals—embarked on one of the most consequential scientific endeavors in living memory. Funding poured in from governments, multilateral agencies, not-for-profit institutions, and the private sector. Regulators showed uncanny speed in working with innovators. Now, months later, more than 250 vaccine candidates are being pursued globally, with 30 already in clinical studies and another 25 or so poised to enter human trials in 2020.
As the novel coronavirus continues to spread (with roughly 1.5 million new cases of COVID-19 globally each week) and the pursuit of a vaccine intensifies, debate has grown among corporate leaders, economists, public-policy makers, and scientific experts—and even in our own living rooms. Will we have a COVID-19 vaccine? If so, when? And how much value can it provide to society?
To bring more clarity to the conversation, we conducted an in-depth review of the COVID-19-vaccine pipeline and the range of potential immunization and demand scenarios. We looked at publicly available information on the potential time to develop COVID-19 vaccine candidates compared to other vaccines, as well as potential barriers. We spoke with experts in epidemiology and public health, as well as important participants in the vaccine ecosystem (among them, developers, funders, and government organizations). We synthesize that body of research and analysis in this article. Our goal wasn’t to judge whether vaccine development should be accelerated or not; ensuring that safety protocols are being followed and outcomes are being rigorously monitored is of the utmost importance.
Here is what we found:
- Vaccine developers and government officials are publicly reporting timelines for potential emergency use of vaccine candidates between the fourth quarter of 2020 and the first quarter of 2021.
- The early data on vaccine safety and immunogenicity in Phase I and II trials are promising—although in a limited number of subjects to date.
- The discrete characteristics of the virus, the sheer number of development efforts, and innovators’ unprecedented access to funding all provide reasons to believe that a COVID-19 vaccine can be developed faster than any other vaccine in history. (It took four years to develop the mumps vaccine, which was previously the fastest developed novel vaccine.1 ) More than 50 candidates are expected to enter human trials in 2020, and 250 total vaccine candidates are being pursued. Historical attrition rates would suggest that such a pipeline could yield more than seven approved products over the next few years.
- A number of hurdles remain, including validating unproven platform technologies, demonstrating vaccine candidates’ safety and protection against COVID-19, and delivering the highest-impact vaccine profiles.
- Regulatory bodies are still finalizing guidelines for COVID-19 vaccines. Recent guidance from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), for example, suggests the need for more data prior to granting Emergency Use Authorizations (EUAs). Details are still being worked out.
- Vaccine manufacturers have announced cumulative capacity that could produce as many as one billion doses by the end of 2020 and nine billion doses by the end of 2021.
Taken together, all the evidence suggests that COVID-19 vaccines are likely to become available for focused populations somewhere between the fourth quarter of 2020 and the first quarter of 2021. The ultimate role they will play in the world’s response to the pandemic will depend on a range of factors—for instance, the disease’s epidemiology and transmission, the duration of immunity from natural infection, the profile of vaccines, and the availability of complementary therapeutics and diagnostics. It’s assumed, however, that vaccines will play an important role in most response scenarios and may “save the world” in worse scenarios. In all scenarios, vaccines will serve as an insurance policy against continued health and economic shocks from the pandemic.
The best of the Muslim Times’ collection for war against Covid 19:
In this day and age, understanding bacteria and viruses and developing vaccines are national security issues. In my view sizable part of every country’s defense budget should be spent in these pursuits rather than making tanks and other weapons.
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The Muslim Times has the best collections in the war against Covid 19 as we are collecting from all the established sources
For the number of cases and epidemiology in each country go to: WorldOMeters
DAILY NEW CASES AND DEATHS IN US, CDC SITE
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