While various companies are trying to develop a coronavirus vaccine, the public is repeatedly reminded that the finish line is at least 12 to 18 months. This chronology appears to be extremely long as the coronavirus pandemic continues to destroy the world around us. New technologies, combined with international cooperation in the fight against infectious diseases, make it possible to react more quickly to new outbreaks that have been laughed at several years after the calendar for the development of traditional vaccines.
The World Health Organization has announced the start of a cross-border clinical trial called Solidarity. This study tests the effectiveness of four different drugs: remdesivir, chloroquine, a combination of lopinavir and ritonavir and this combination of lopinavir and ritonavir together with beta-interferon, against COVID-19. So far many countries have joined the Solidarity trial and these countries are Argentina, Bahrain, Canada, France, Iran, Norway, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland, and Thailand.
Here are the key steps to developing a coronavirus vaccine and showing you the time it will save.
How Vaccines Work in a Body
Vaccines reduce the risk of disease by preparing the body’s immune system, the body’s natural defense network, to recognize, fight and destroy certain bacteria and viruses. Although there are different types of vaccines, they introduce enough identifying information about bacteria or viruses to trigger an immune response in the body without causing illness. In response to a vaccine, the body sends immune cells to fight this alien invader. When the body first finds a new virus or bacteria, it takes time to develop a true immune response. However, after the intruder has been removed, some immune cells remain that recognize the body and are ready to protect it from this intruder in the future.
Development of Coronavirus Vaccine
Chinese scientists have developed and shared the full genetic sequence of SARS-Cov2, a virus that causes COVID-19 and is known as the coronavirus. More and more companies are using this information to develop vaccines that contain a small amount of genetic code. Certain cells in the body extract this genetic information and produce elements of the virus that do not infect humans but activate the immune system’s response.
Although genetic platforms are hopeful and fast, there are currently no approved vaccines for human use. In addition to many companies using vaccines on this platform, other companies are examining various vaccination approaches, such as using a deactivated version of the virus. The advantage of developing and testing more potential vaccines is the higher probability that one of them will be approved for public use. But first, it must go through clinical trials.
Safety, Efficiency, and Approval
Healthy people are given vaccines to prevent illness. While the COVID-19 vaccine is urgently needed, the rush of the market can endanger healthy people without proper testing. One area of risk is vaccine improvement, which means that the disease is more harmful to the vaccinated person.
A clinical trial is designed to evaluate whether new vaccines are safe and effective before making them available to the public. The process usually consists of several stages and takes about ten years. However, governments and industry are trying to speed up the process and even distribute animal tests, while meeting the following safety and efficacy standards:
- Phase 1: A small study in healthy people in which a vaccine was tested for safety and immune response in different doses. For COVID-19 studies, this is expected to take 3 months; It can usually take a year or two.
- Phase 2: A random, double-blind, placebo-controlled study of hundreds of people who continue to evaluate the safety, evaluate the efficiency and show the optimal dose and schedule. For COVID-19 studies, it is expected to take 8 months. This process can usually take two to three years.
- Phase 3: A random, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial in thousands of people that evaluated safety and efficiency. For COVID-19 studies, this can be combined with phase 2; This can usually take two to four years.
- Phase 4: A government agency approving new vaccines reviews test data and other information about license applications. It usually takes one to two years but is expected to last only a few months.
- Phase 5: Post-approval studies that monitor performance under real conditions.
Manufacturing of Coronavirus Vaccine
The last step in accelerating the production of huge quantities of coronavirus vaccines is early and reliable production. If production begins during testing, the vaccine will be available to the public upon approval. However, vaccines that are given before approval are being made at this time. A manufacturer loses significant resources if no permit or vaccine is no longer needed on the market. The more vaccines you make, the greater the risk. Government authorities are considering to fund the manufacturing of coronavirus vaccine.
The international community is working more than ever to develop a coronavirus vaccine. If the vaccine is developed on schedule, which is expected by the end of the year, people will have a preventive option when COVID-19 is recycled next year. Virus protection saves lives and helps the company to return to normal operations. Till then, stay at home and protect yourself and your loved ones.