As the death ofapproaches 300,000 worldwide, physicians and researchers rush to develop several . But it is not a competition. In fact, it may require several different vaccines manufactured and distributed by different laboratories to effectively eradicate COVID-19 from the planet, according to Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, who co-authored a paper on vaccines, published May 11 in the journal Science.
Most health experts say that the virus will not stop spreading until 60% to 70% of the world's population. Others say that the only way to reach that level of immunity without a monumental death toll is through vaccines. Such is the opinion of Carl T. Bergstrom, a biology professor at the University of Washington and Natalie Dean, assistant professor of biostatistics at the University of Florida, in a joint editorial published in the New York Times.
There are currently over 100 vaccines reportedly under development, with seven already reported in clinical trials earlier this month. This means that there are more researchers working harder and faster to find a vaccine than ever before in the history of the pandemic. However, even if one or more of the vaccines are now effective at work, the FDA approval process usually takes a year or longer.
It's still too early to make predictions, but here's what we know so far about the race to develop a coronavirus vaccine that can help us end the current pandemic.  One more note before we begin. This article is intended to be a resource to help you understand current vaccine research on coronavirus. It is not intended to act as medical advice. If you are looking for more information on corona virus testingnear you (and here users). Here is and . This story is often updated when new information comes out.
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Vaccine 101: what it is, how it works and how long to do one?
A vaccine is a medical treatment that protects you against a disease such as the coronavirus or smallpox. For a deeper understanding of how vaccines work, check outby CNET Science Editor Jackson Ryan. The short and sweet thing about it is that a vaccine makes the body think that it has already had the disease, so your body's natural defense – the immune system – . If you then become infected, your body would urge the antibodies to fight the virus before you feel ill.
Vaccines usually take about 10 to 15 years to develop. This is partly because all new medical treatment must be carefully tested for safety before it can be distributed to millions or billions of people. The vaccine against the cotus took four years, which is generally considered to be the fastest vaccine approval in the history of infectious diseases.
This month, the FDA quickly tracked down a vaccine developed by Massachusetts-based biotech company Moderna, which is currently in Phase 2 clinical trials. The fast track process speeds up FDA approval by opening more lines of communication between developers and regulators. It also analyzes the review process incrementally, so that the laboratory does not have to complete and submit all parts of the application at the same time.
The current coronavirus vaccine landscape
In April, the White House began organizing "Operation Warp Speed," according to Bloomberg, a sort of coronavirus vaccine working group that has identified 14 vaccine projects that it will focus on rapid detection. The "Warp Speed" project itself, which the White House acknowledged during a press conference in April, has a stated goal of preparing 300 million doses of vaccine to be available in January 2021. It's a little faster than the estimated 12-18 months timeline proposed by Fauci, the NIAID Director.
As of this writing, there are over 100 vaccines under development in countries around the world, including the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, Japan and China. Twelve are either already in clinical trials or starting in the next few months. Of these 12, Oxford University seems to be a particular standout. Researchers say their vaccine may be ready in the fall of 2020.
How good are the odds of finding a vaccine?
Statistically, only about 6% of vaccine candidates have ever reached the market, according to Reuters Special Report, and not just because they do not work. There is a whole problem with problems that can interrupt even a promising candidate. Take, for example, what happened when researchers tried to develop a vaccine against SARS – it did back and actually made people more susceptible to the disease. The same thing happened with a vaccine against Dengue fever. To make matters worse, coronaviruses are a major class of viruses and so far there are no vaccines for any of them.
But this specific coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, has some unique properties that can help researchers working with a vaccine. For example, some viruses, such as the flu, quickly and often mutate, so there is a new flu vaccine every year. Early evidence suggests that coronavirus does not appear to do so. Although some researchers have assumed that a more highly contagious load has recently developed, others are not so safe. However, it is believed that the virus has not yet mutated enough to interfere with vaccine development, nor is it expected, although it is premature to say with certainty, and there are still many unknowns about the virus's behavior.
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What steps does a vaccine have to go through to be approved?
Rules and regulations vary by country, but in general, most industrialized countries have similar protocols for the approval of a vaccine. The following is how vaccines are approved in the United States under the Food and Drug Administration:
- Before clinical trials can begin: When a laboratory has researched and developed a potential vaccine, which includes testing it in animal models and work in manufacturing and quality control, it can be applied to the FDA to begin clinical trials.
- Phase 1 clinical trials: The vaccine is tested for safety and efficacy in a small number (dozens) of closely monitored subjects.
- Phase 2 clinical trials: Various doses of the vaccine are tested in hundreds of people.
- Phase 3 clinical trials: Thousands of people are enrolled to measure the overall effectiveness of the vaccine.
- If a vaccine passes all three stages: The laboratory must then apply to the FDA for a license to produce and distribute the vaccine. This application is reviewed by both FDA researchers and non-FDA researchers.
- If approved: The laboratory begins to produce the vaccine while the FDA monitors production closely.
- Phase 4: Although the vaccine can be released on the market at this time, many vaccines continue with what are called phase 4 studies, during which the FDA continues to review the safety and efficacy of the vaccine.
What if we never find a coronavirus vaccine?
The longer we go without a vaccine, the more likely the focus will change toward treatments, such aswhich reportedly showed promising results. With effective therapeutic treatments, many viruses that used to be deadly are no longer death sentences. Patients with HIV, for example, can now expect to have the same lifespan as non-HIV positive individuals, thanks to huge advances in treatment.
Without a coronavirus vaccine, the path back to normal can be more difficult and longer, but not necessarily impossible.including and efforts would probably need to be intensified.
Locking measures are already slowly liftingalthough and a potential resurgence of infections, cities and states may reclaim certain quarantine measures, including