The Search For A Vaccine
By Lily Erb, Content Writer
We’ve all made adjustments to our daily lives in order to make room for Covid-19. We’ve gotten refunds for all the concerts and sports games tickets we bought. We’ve canceled, rescheduled, and reworked all our vacations. We ordered happy hour cocktails and appetizers for pickup. Despite all the interruptions of Covid-19, life went on. We started wearing masks, working from home, and shopping online. Gone are the days of the friendly handshake. Instead of searching for wallets or keys on the way out, we pat our pockets to make sure we didn’t forget our masks. We’re living in what some people call “the new normal.” While this new normal is certainly livable, many can’t wait to get back to the old normal.
While a return to a virus-free world sounds wonderful, we have to be realistic. The virus is not going to simply vanish. In order to return to normalcy, a vaccine will be necessary. Vaccines typically take multiple years in order to be formulated and tested for safety and efficiency. Scientists are trying to speed up the process, and hope to have a vaccine ready for public use by next year.
A vaccine must undergo multiple phases of testing before it is approved for public use. A vaccine begins in the preclinical stage. If it passes the preclinical stage, it goes through three stages of testing before being approved for public use. The tests are necessary for ensuring safety, efficacy, and proper dosage level. Even when a vaccine is approved, the approval might be limited.
According to the New York Times, four vaccines are currently in the third and final phases of testing. A vaccine being developed by the University of Oxford and British-Swedish Company AstraZeneca has been found to raise antibodies against the coronavirus without adverse side-effects. This vaccine is in it’s Phase III trial in Brazil, England, and South Africa. The Chinese company Sinopharm is conducting a Phase III trial of their vaccine in the United Arab Emirates. Another Chinese company, Sinovac Biotech, launched a Phase III trial for their vaccine in Brazil this month. The Murdoch’s Children Research Institute in Australia is recycling a vaccine developed to fight tuberculosis. This vaccine is in it’s Phase III trial to see if it can be repurposed to protect against coronavirus.
While these vaccines still have a long way to go before they’re being mass produced, they provide a glimmer of light. Promising strides towards a vaccine are being made by scientists all over the world. There is hope for an effective vaccine, and with that hope comes a promise of a return to a pre-covid world. A vaccine would not only bring us a return to normalcy, but would also put an ease to the rising death-tolls worldwide. Until we have that vaccine, we must continue to take the necessary precautions against covid-19. Stay inside, wear a mask, and avoid large gatherings. Delivery services such as Smart Shop are here to help you and your family stay healthy.
"Vaccine Tracker" image courtesy of the New York Times at: https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/science/coronavirus-vaccine-tracker.html