With much of the entire world either in lockdown or contemplating an imminent return to it, it may be forgiven its bated breath because it awaits news updates on any little progress that might have been made towards having a vaccine for Covid-19. A process which typically takes a long time seems to own been pared right down to a scramble over a matter of months, and some 240 potential vaccines are presently under development in several places across the planet, including forty in clinical trials and nine in the ultimate stages of testing.
For governments and their scientific advisors all bearing a tired aura of folks who’ve come to an end of ideas, a vaccine is without question the holy grail in the fight against Covid. New restrictions imposed are invariably prefaced with the words “until we have a vaccine “.Obviously new vaccines do not always work, and therefore it is essential to sound the obligatory note of caution. But assuming a minumum of one does, what, realistically, is the best we are able to expect as a result?
Are we expecting an excessive amount of a vaccine?
Assumptions are frequently made that the vaccine could be 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 the first 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 is much more likely that inoculation can provide efficacy at, say, 50%, meaning the vaccine will be a huge step forward however 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 developed 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
Regardless 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 reduce the seriousness of the problem that may develop. Thus it brings benefits on two fronts.
Based on Vincent Munster, head of the virus ecology unit at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases’Rocky Mountain Laboratories, who headed the research: “When we push the condition from pneumonia to a common cold, then I think that’s 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 for a return to normal life and a rejuvenated economy.
Phil Andrews is really a freelance English-language content writer specialising in articles, site content and blogging. He is mcdougal of The Best Year Of Our Lives, a historical fiction novel occur 1976 about a group of teenagers growing up in a restless West London suburb near the River Thames.