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Will there be a coronavirus vaccine this year? What you need to know


Experts hope that a vaccine against the SARS-CoV-2 virus will be available sooner rather than later.

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For the latest news and information on the coronavirus pandemic, visit the WHO website.

Will there be one coronavirus vaccine before November 3 presidential election? The current US President Donald Trump really hopes so. But even if his long-term prediction comes true, the reality of producing, distributing and administering one or more COVID-19 vaccines means that it can still take months before most people in the US get one – and possibly even longer before life returns to any of it. normal. That has not stopped the Trump administration from exceeding expectations.

And vaccine manufacturers are not the only ones responding to pressure from the White House to rush the approval of a vaccine either. The New Yorker reports that some Chinese officials take Trump’s timeline seriously enough to rush to approve their own vaccines. This revelation comes on the heels of a new study by the New York Times describing how China has administered a significant number of experimental coronavirus vaccines outside the typical testing process. Many worry that a similar breach of safety protocols could lead to premature approval of a vaccine in the United States.

There are currently seven vaccine candidates being tested in the United States, three of which are approaching the final stages required for approval by the Food and Drug Administration. Considering SARS-CoV-2 – the virus that causes COVID-19 – was only discovered less than a year ago, progress is actually being made at a faster pace than ever before in the history of infectious disease (vaccines take an average of about 10.7 years to develop), despite Trump’s claim that vaccine development is deliberate suffocated.

Here we map the current landscape for a coronavirus vaccine that is being developed. This article is frequently updated and is intended to be a general overview and not a source of medical advice. If you are looking for more information about coronavirus testing, How to find a test site near you.

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Important news about the COVID-19 vaccine

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An effective coronavirus vaccine may be the only way to stop preventative measures, such as social distancing and face masks.

James Martin / CNET

COVID vaccine development is accelerating

Several acceleration efforts are currently underway, such as the White House’s operation Warp Speed, which is intended to cut through the regulatory agency to accelerate vaccine development and be ready to distribute vaccines as soon as they receive FDA approval. To date, the US government has promised more than $ 10 billion to several vaccine manufacturers to secure a total of 800 million vaccine doses.

Vaccines usually take about 10 to 15 years to develop and approve, through four phases that include human trials. But with Operation Warp Speed, approved vaccine projects can submit data to the FDA piece by piece instead of submitting all sections of the application after all four phases are completed.

At the same time, the program also financially supports efforts to start production doses while clinical trials are still ongoing. This means that if and when these vaccines are approved, there will already be a stock of doses ready to be distributed nationally. “I hope that by the time we get well into the second half of 2021, companies will have delivered the hundreds of millions of doses they have promised,” says Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. , Forbes reported in August.


Experts say that the recent increases in coronavirus cases are not only the result of the United States conducting more tests, as a higher proportion of those tested are positive compared to previous stages of the pandemic.

James Martin / CNET

Promising coronavirus vaccines from the UK, USA, China

Here’s a quick look at some of the fronts in the race to find a COVID-19 vaccine, including where the vaccines are being developed, where they are being tested and when researchers believe they may be ready for widespread distribution, if known.

Oxford University / AstraZeneca (UK): AstraZeneca has suspended testing of its vaccine, which it had started on 100,000 human volunteers in at least three countries, and was preparing to begin in the United States. Leading researcher Dr Sarah Gilbert had originally said that they are aiming for an autumn 2020 release, which may now be delayed. However, Britain’s Health Minister Matt Hancock has said such a break is not “necessarily” a setback.

Modern (US): An obvious battle with state regulators delayed large-scale human testing, but Moderna’s CEO has told Barrons that he still expects the company to know at Thanksgiving if the vaccine is safe and effective and should be able to distribute it in early 2021 if it is. .

Pfizer (USA): Although its four COVID-19 vaccine candidates are still in early human studies, two of them have been rapidly detected by the FDA. Pfizer’s business director told the US Congress that the company may be ready to apply for FDA approval in October.

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SinoVac (China): Currently testing its vaccine on about 10,000 human volunteers in China and about 9,000 in Brazil and will soon begin testing on about 1,900 test subjects in Indonesia. The CEO of BioPharma, SinoVac’s Indonesian partner, has said he expects the vaccine to be ready in early 2021.

SinoPharm (China): About 15,000 volunteers in the Middle East are currently testing in a trial that the state-owned company expects to last for three to six months. Early results suggest that the drug is safe and at least somewhat effective. SinoPharm recently built a second plant to manufacture the vaccine and doubled its capacity to approximately 200 million doses per year.

CanSino Biologics (China): CanSino’s vaccine has already been approved for the Chinese military at the start of major human trials this summer. The vaccine is based on a modified cold virus, which some experts warn against making it less effective than other vaccines.


Wearing a face mask is still the safest way to prevent coronavirus transmission.

Robert Rodriguez / CNET

Will there just be one vaccine for everyone?

We probably won’t know until next year, but Fauci has suggested that it may require several different vaccines manufactured and distributed by different laboratories to end the pandemic, in an article published May 11 in the journal Science. He has also said that he anticipates that different vaccines will be given to different patient populations. For example, one vaccine for elderly or other high-risk patients, another for healthy adults, another for children, etc.

What happens if we never find a coronavirus vaccine?

Coronavirus is a large class of viruses and so far there are no vaccines against any of them. Although there are promising early results, there is no guarantee of a vaccine until 2021. Statistically, only about 6% of vaccine candidates will ever enter the market, according to a Reuters special report.

Early evidence suggests that the coronavirus does not appear to mutate as rapidly or frequently as the flu, and it is believed that the virus has not yet mutated significantly enough to interfere with vaccine development – although our knowledge may change.


Most experts expect a vaccine against the new coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, by 2021.

James Martin / CNET

The further we go without a vaccine, the more likely the focus will shift to treatments, such as experimental antiviral drug remdesivir, which reportedly showed promising results, and dexamethasone, a steroid that doctors say increases the survival rate among the most serious cases. With effective therapeutic treatments, many viruses that were previously lethal are no longer death sentences. For example, patients with HIV can now expect to have the same life expectancy as non-HIV-positive individuals, thanks to the enormous advances in treatment.

Eventually, the global population can reach the 60-70% required flock immunity to protect those who are not immune, which is ultimately the goal of a vaccine.

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