As of 14th May 2020 there are at least 95 vaccines under various stages of development to prevent Covid-19. Recently Pfizer begins human trials of possible corona virus vaccine. Oxford covid-19 vaccine's human trial results will arrive by June, Researcher confirms.
Vaccine - The Panacea
Historically, vaccines have been one of the greatest public health tools to prevent disease. But even as new technology, advancements in genomics and improved global coordination have allowed researchers to move at unprecedented speed, vaccine development remains an expensive and risky process.
- It takes months and even years just to start human trials of vaccines.
- Vaccines makers around the world are racing to speed up their timelines for development, a process that typically takes years.
- Companies/Universities are making extraordinary efforts to stagger trials and, in some cases, skip essential steps, such as animal testing.
Worst case scenario
- There is another worst case possibility - that no vaccine is ever developed.
- After the SARS outbreak in 2003, it takes researchers about 20 months from the release of the viral genome to get a vaccine ready for human trials.
- 2020- no vaccine ready for deployment. Recently WHO envoy warns corona virus vaccine may never be developed.
Plan BPre-exposure prophylaxis options.
Life without vaccine
- Instead of wiping out Covid-19, societies may instead learn to live with it.
- Treatments may be developed. But, outbreaks of the disease still occur each year(peaking in winters).
- Cities would slowly re-open. But, shut again anytime.
- Abrupt instruction to self-isolate could come at any time.
Last option - Herd immunity
When most of a population is immune to an infectious disease, this provides indirect protection or herd immunity(also called herd protection) to those who are not immune to the disease. For example, if 80% of a population is immune to a virus, four out of every five people who encounter someone with the disease won’t get sick(and won’t spread the disease any further). In this way, the spread of infectious diseases is kept under control. Depending how contagious an infection is, usually 70% to 90% of a population needs immunity to achieve herd immunity
There are many more diseases without vaccines
- HIV (AIDS) - 4 decades and 32 million deaths later, the world is still waiting for an HIV vaccine. HIV mutates during a single infection. It continues to mutate inside the body. So, it's like you're infected with a thousand different HIV strands.
- Malaria - 230 million cases and 0.4 million deaths annually.
- Dengue - Vaccine developed recently in 2015 but failed in field.
- Influenza is able to change itself from one year to the next. So, it is extremely hard to find vaccine for it.
Vaccines are the tugboats of preventive health