With a lot of the planet either in lockdown or contemplating an imminent come back to it, it can be forgiven its bated breath since it awaits news updates on any little progress that may have been made towards developing a vaccine for Covid-19. A process which typically takes several years would seem to possess been pared down seriously to a scramble over a matter of months, and some 240 potential vaccines are presently under development in several places across the globe, including forty in clinical trials and nine in the final stages of testing.
For governments and their scientific advisors all bearing a tired aura of folks who have come to an end of ideas, a vaccine is without question the ultimate goal 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 so it is necessary to sound the obligatory note of caution. But assuming at least one does, what, realistically, is the better we could expect from it?
Are we expecting an excessive amount of a vaccine?
Assumptions are frequently made a vaccine could 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 is 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 much more likely that inoculation will give you efficacy at, say, 50%, meaning the vaccine will be a huge step of progress however 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 developed by Oxford University and AstraZeneca. Experiments undertaken in macaques within 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 are successful even up to a point, promise to be always 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 problem that will 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 common cold, then I do believe that’s a huge step forward.”
Relegating Covid-19 to an unthreatening condition will end the need for restrictions to be imposed to guard health services, and pave the way 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 is the writer of The Best Year Of Our Lives, a historical fiction novel emerge 1976 about a small grouping of young people growing up in a restless West London suburb beside the River Thames.