With much of the planet either in lockdown or contemplating an imminent go back to it, it may be forgiven its bated breath since it awaits news updates on any little progress that might have been made towards developing a vaccine for Covid-19. A procedure which typically takes a long time seems to have been pared right down to a scramble over a matter of months, and some 240 potential vaccines are presently under development in various places across the world, including forty in clinical trials and nine in the final stages of testing.
For governments and their scientific advisors all bearing a tired aura of folks who have come to an end of ideas, a vaccine is without a doubt the ultimate goal in the fight Covid. New restrictions imposed are invariably prefaced with the language “until we have a vaccine “.Of course new vaccines do not necessarily work, and therefore it is necessary to sound the obligatory note of caution. But assuming at least one does, what, realistically, is the better we could expect as a result?
Are we expecting an excessive amount of a vaccine?
Assumptions are frequently made a vaccine is the panacea which will finally consign the ubiquitous SARS-CoV-2 to history. But are we possibly expecting an excessive amount of it, at least in early stages?
In the field of medicine there’s a concept called “sterilising immunity”, wherein a vaccinated individual can get total protection from a virus. But coronaviruses are rarely that co-operative โควิด. Instead it’s much much more likely that inoculation will provide efficacy at, say, 50%, meaning the vaccine will be a huge step forward but it won’t make the virus disappear, at least not overnight.
Possibly probably the most advanced of the Covid-19 vaccine projects presently under way is that being manufactured by Oxford University and AstraZeneca. Experiments undertaken in macaques as part of this project revealed that the vaccine protected the primates from developing pneumonia, but quantities of virus remained in top of the airways.
Candidate vaccines a possible game-changer
In spite of their likely imperfect performance the candidate vaccines, if they’re successful even up to and including point, promise to be a game-changer. This is because they both minimise the odds of the recipient becoming infected and also, if infection does occur, they help reduce the seriousness of the situation that may develop. Thus it brings benefits on two fronts.
According to Vincent Munster, head of the virus ecology unit at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases’Rocky Mountain Laboratories, who headed the investigation: “If we push the disease from pneumonia to a common cold, then I believe that’s a huge step forward.”
Relegating Covid-19 to an unthreatening condition will end the necessity for restrictions to be imposed to protect health services, and pave the way in which for a come back to normal life and a rejuvenated economy.
Phil Andrews is really a freelance English-language content writer specialising in articles, content and blogging. He’s the author of The Best Year Of Our Lives, a historical fiction novel emerge 1976 about a group of young people growing up in a restless West London suburb next to the River Thames.