With a lot of the planet either in lockdown or contemplating an imminent come back to it, it may be forgiven its bated breath as it awaits news updates on any little progress that may have been made towards developing a vaccine for Covid-19. A procedure which typically takes a long time seems to possess been pared down seriously to a scramble over a matter of months, and some 240 potential vaccines are presently under development in a variety of places across the planet, including forty in clinical trials and nine in the last stages of testing.
For governments and their scientific advisors all bearing a tired aura of folks who’ve go out of ideas, a vaccine is without a doubt the holy grail in the fight against Covid. New restrictions imposed are invariably prefaced with the language “until we have a vaccine “.Obviously new vaccines do not always work, and so it is essential to sound the obligatory note of caution. But assuming one or more 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 that a vaccine may be the panacea which will ultimately consign the ubiquitous SARS-CoV-2 to history. But are we possibly expecting an excessive amount of it, at the least in the early stages?
In the field of medicine there’s a concept called “sterilising immunity”, wherein a vaccinated individual can expect total protection from the 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 advance nonetheless it won’t make the virus disappear, at the least not overnight.
Possibly probably the most advanced of the Covid-19 vaccine projects presently under way is that being produced by Oxford University and AstraZeneca. Experiments undertaken in macaques within this project showed that the vaccine protected the primates from developing pneumonia, but quantities of virus remained in the upper airways.
Candidate vaccines a possible game-changer
Regardless of their likely imperfect performance the candidate vaccines, if they are successful even up to a 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 reduce the seriousness of the situation that may develop. Thus it brings benefits on two fronts.
In accordance with Vincent Munster, head of the virus ecology unit at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases’Rocky Mountain Laboratories, who headed the research: “If we push the illness from pneumonia to a standard cold, then I think that is a huge step forward.”
Relegating Covid-19 to an unthreatening condition will end the necessity for restrictions to be imposed to safeguard health services, and pave the way in which for a go back to normal life and a rejuvenated economy.
Phil Andrews is just a freelance English-language content writer specialising in articles, site content and blogging. He’s mcdougal of The Best Year Of Our Lives, a historical fiction novel occur 1976 about several teenagers growing up in a restless West London suburb near the River Thames.