The outbreak of novel coronavirus brought the world to a standstill, quite literally. As countries went into lockdown, everything from businesses to educational institutions closed, bringing the world to a halt. However, there was one industry where COVID-19 spurred innovation and growth – the pharmaceutical industry.
When everything else was shutting down, the big pharmaceutical companies and medical research organizations, in different parts of the world, called on their experts to work on finding a cure for the novel coronavirus.
COVID-19 Vaccine Development – How Far Have We Come In The Process?
Vaccine development is a long and complex process that typically takes about 10 to 15 years. However, owing to the unprecedented emergency situation COVID-19 has created in the world, both researchers and governments have been trying to speed things up. The work on finding a vaccine for the novel coronavirus is going on at maximum speed. As of now (August 26, 2020), more than 170 teams of medical researchers around the world are working on developing a coronavirus vaccine.
To quickly find an effective cure for the virus, researchers are exploring a variety of different techniques and technologies. Some of the methods and platforms being investigated include protein subunit, viral-vectored, nucleic acid (DNA and RNA), virus-like particle, recombinant protein, peptide, live attenuated virus, and inactivated virus approaches.
More than 135 of these vaccines are still in the preclinical phase whereas more than 40 coronavirus vaccines are in different phases of clinical trials. About two vaccines have been approved for limited use, (on military personnel) one of which is Ad5-nCoV prepared by CanSino Biologics; the research unit of Chinese military.
On August 11, 2020, Russia approved its coronavirus vaccine, Sputnik V, for public use. However, the announcement received a severe backlash from medical researcher all over the world as the vaccine was only tested in 76 people. In other words, the vaccine was issued the registration certificate by Russia’s Ministry of Health when it had only begun the phase III of clinical trials.
On the positive side, most researchers and healthcare experts have high hopes that coronavirus vaccines will start rolling out by the end of 2020 or the beginning of 2021. Widespread availability of a coronavirus vaccine is expected in about 18 months.
The Final Word
While the pandemic has taken the world by storm and has caused chaos and uncertainty in every area of life, medical experts have promptly responded to the situation. Along with the healthcare professionals that have been battling the virus on the frontline, a large number of medical researchers have been diligently working, for several months now, to find a cure for the novel virus.
Research and trials on coronavirus vaccine has been going on at unprecedented speed and even though the situation looks gloomy now, the world will return to normal very soon with a safe and effective coronavirus vaccine.