With much of the entire world either in lockdown or contemplating an imminent go back to it, it can be forgiven its bated breath since it awaits news updates on any little progress that could have been made towards developing a vaccine for Covid-19. An activity which typically takes many years would seem to possess been pared right down 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 ultimate goal in the fight Covid. New restrictions imposed are invariably prefaced with the words “until we have a vaccine “.Needless to say new vaccines do not at all times 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 are able to expect as a result?
Are we expecting too much of a vaccine?
Assumptions are frequently made a vaccine may be the panacea which will ultimately consign the ubiquitous SARS-CoV-2 to history. But are we possibly expecting too much of it, at the very least in the first stages?
In the field of medicine there is a concept called “sterilising immunity”, wherein a vaccinated individual can get total protection from the virus. But coronaviruses are rarely that co-operative โควิด. Instead it is much much more likely that inoculation can provide efficacy at, say, 50%, meaning the vaccine would have been a huge advance however it won’t make the virus disappear, at the very least not overnight.
Possibly the most advanced of the Covid-19 vaccine projects presently under way is that being developed by Oxford University and AstraZeneca. Experiments undertaken in macaques included in 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
Notwithstanding their likely imperfect performance the candidate vaccines, if they are successful even up to point, promise to be a game-changer. The reason being 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.
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 illness from pneumonia to a common cold, then I do believe that is clearly a huge step forward.”
Relegating Covid-19 to an unthreatening condition will end the requirement for restrictions to be imposed to safeguard health services, and pave the way in which for a come back to normal life and a rejuvenated economy.
Phil Andrews is just a freelance English-language content writer specialising in articles, web content and blogging. He’s the author of The Best Year Of Our Lives, a historical fiction novel occur 1976 about a group of young people growing up in a restless West London suburb next to the River Thames.