With much of the world either in lockdown or contemplating an imminent go back to it, it could be forgiven its bated breath since it awaits news updates on any little progress that could have been made towards creating a vaccine for Covid-19. A process which typically takes many years 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 last 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 a doubt the holy grail in the fight Covid. New restrictions imposed are invariably prefaced with the words “until we’ve a vaccine “.Of course new vaccines do not necessarily work, and so it’s necessary to sound the obligatory note of caution. But assuming at least one does, what, realistically, is the greatest we are able to expect from it?
Are we expecting an excessive amount of a vaccine?
Assumptions are frequently made that a vaccine may 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 early 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 is much more likely that inoculation can provide efficacy at, say, 50%, meaning the vaccine will be a huge step forward nonetheless 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 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 potential game-changer
In spite of their likely imperfect performance the candidate vaccines, if they’re successful even up to 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 help reduce the seriousness of the situation that’ll develop. Thus it brings benefits on two fronts.
According to 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 disease from pneumonia to a standard cold, then I think that’s a huge step forward.”
Relegating Covid-19 to an unthreatening condition will end the requirement for restrictions to be imposed to safeguard health services, and pave the way for a come back to normal life and a rejuvenated economy.
Phil Andrews is really a freelance English-language content writer specialising in articles, web content and blogging. He’s the author of The Best Year Of Our Lives, a historical fiction novel set in 1976 about a small grouping of teenagers growing up in a restless West London suburb beside the River Thames.