With a lot of the world either in lockdown or contemplating an imminent come back to it, it could be forgiven its bated breath as it awaits news updates on any little progress that might have been made towards creating a vaccine for Covid-19. A process which typically takes several years seems to own been pared down seriously to a scramble over a matter of months, and some 240 potential vaccines are presently under development in various places across the world, 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 run out 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 always work, and so it is essential to sound the obligatory note of caution. But assuming at least one does, what, realistically, is the best we could expect as a result?
Are we expecting too much of a vaccine?
Assumptions are frequently made that the vaccine could be the panacea which will finally consign the ubiquitous SARS-CoV-2 to history. But are we possibly expecting too much of it, at the 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 the virus. But coronaviruses are rarely that co-operative โควิด. Instead it is much much more likely that inoculation will provide efficacy at, say, 50%, meaning the vaccine is a huge step forward but it won’t make the virus disappear, at the least not overnight.
Possibly the absolute most advanced of the Covid-19 vaccine projects presently under way is that being produced by Oxford University and AstraZeneca. Experiments undertaken in macaques within this project indicated that the vaccine protected the primates from developing pneumonia, but quantities of virus remained in the top of airways.
Candidate vaccines a potential game-changer
Regardless of their likely imperfect performance the candidate vaccines, if they’re successful even up to and including point, promise to become 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 problem which 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: “When we push the disease from pneumonia to a typical cold, then I believe that is 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 in which for a come back to normal life and a rejuvenated economy.
Phil Andrews is 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 occur 1976 about several young people growing up in a restless West London suburb beside the River Thames.