The WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION had announced that it may take 18 months for a Corona Virus Vaccine for public to use. Let’s explore why it might take this long.
Earlier, efforts to develop vaccines took TWO to FIVE years. With previous learning, we could possibly develop a vaccine within one and half year. Developing a vaccine is a challenging task and cannot happen overnight. But it can be faster than history.
Several therapies and drugs are being used on human trials to stop the infection and boost the immune system to kill the Corona Virus disease.
Despite China sharing publicly the full RNA sequence, and the live samples of the virus which is the first time in the history of medicine, testers are now understanding the characteristics of the virus. However, scientists seeking corona virus cure, have understood, how the new germs interferes with the immune response once it contaminate cells.
The scientists found that SARS-CoV-2 can inhibit interferon cells slowing down the viral replication, allowing other helpful proteins to call from B and T cells.
A possible COVID-19 treatment could include interferons. Another study suggest that a triple-drug combo that includes interferon is effective against the novel coronavirus.
Physicians recommending drugs, like remdesivir and a triple-combo therapy, can accelerate recovery times. Blood thinners can avert complications by preventing blood clotting. Read: How Corona Virus Transmits Video
Here’s why we need to work globally together to develop a vaccine and Here Is Why It’s Taking So Long
There is no single entity in any country which has the capacity or facilities to develop a vaccine by its own. This vaccine will have more stages to the process. First, we must know the virus’s characteristics and understand it’s behavior in the host (humans). To achieve this, we must first create an animal model.
Next, the founders must demonstrate that the dose set off the right parts of the body’s immunity safely, without causing any damage to other parts of the body. Then we can start this dose in pre-clinical tests on developed animal model. Upon passing pre-clinical test successfully, it can be then used by other institutions with the position to run human trials.
The place for trials to be conducted, and by whom, has yet to be confirmed. Usually, it is ideal to conduct such vaccine tests in the midst of the current outbreak.
Finally, if a vaccine is found, it will need to pass, the necessary safety regulations for approvals. Then, A cost-effective method of developing a vaccine have to be in place before final vaccine is ready for delivery to public.
Each steps in the vaccine development mentioned above faces potential challenges.
Diagnose the characteristics of the current virus, then pre-clinical testing of potential vaccines.
Isolating and culturing the virus in labs under secure and sterile conditions to grow in large amounts, so that we have enough to work with it.
Developing and certifying the right biological model for the virus to ascertain clues of how corona virus behave in humans.
The biggest challenge is mutation. There is a strong possibility that SARS-CoV-2 will continue to mutate. It has likely already mutated from animal to animals as it adapted, and then jumped to humans. And if that happens all our efforts go waste.
Even more disturbing is that this mutation may vary globally for obvious reasons. Population density, will decide the number of people infected and we won’t have clue how many times the virus has mutated.
Now you might have got a fair idea why it is a huge task and why it cannot be done hurriedly. Fortunately, recent tests in understanding viral proteins, their structure and functions, has allowed this task to accelerate around the world at considerable speed.