With much of the world either in lockdown or contemplating an imminent come back to it, it may be forgiven its bated breath because 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 would seem to possess been pared down to a scramble over a matter of months, and some 240 potential vaccines are presently under development in several places across the world, 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 come to an end of ideas, a vaccine is without question the holy grail in the combat 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 required to sound the obligatory note of caution. But assuming a minumum of one does, what, realistically, is the greatest we could expect from it?
Are we expecting too much of a vaccine?
Assumptions are frequently made a vaccine is the panacea which will ultimately consign the ubiquitous SARS-CoV-2 to history. But are we possibly expecting too much of it, at the 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 a virus. But coronaviruses are rarely that co-operative โควิด. Instead it’s much much more likely that inoculation will give you efficacy at, say, 50%, meaning the vaccine is a huge advance but it won’t make the virus disappear, at the 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 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. 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.
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 investigation: “If we push the illness 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 guard 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, content and blogging. He’s mcdougal 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 beside the River Thames.