COVID-19 vaccine


Amy Latham, Editor

With the pandemic reaching the eighth month in, people everywhere are starting to question when the COVID-19 vaccine will be ready. Creating a vaccine for a novel virus is a lengthy process that can take up to a year, two, or even five. With the fourth large-scale trial for a vaccine starting in the United States, one can hope that it will arrive soon.

Dr. Anthony Fauci – an American physician, immunologist and member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force – says a vaccine from one of six current vaccine trials could come as soon as next month, although there is no guarantee that it will be ready for the general public by then. With most of the trials being their third phase, several other health officials expect a vaccine to be ready by the end of 2020. Researchers are targeting 50% efficiency with the vaccine, but Dr. Fauci stated that he “would like see at least a 70% to 75% efficacy.” The immunologist also mentioned the different vaccines could work for different people and situations, stating that one’s age or climate they live in could affect what vaccine they could.

Dr. Fauci reported that upon approval by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), about 20 million vaccines will be available for medical personnel. If the vaccine proves to be as effective as shown in trials, 700 million vaccines will be distributed for wide-scale vaccination.

For the current moment, healthcare workers are using Dexamethasone and Remdesivir for standard care which shows to improve outcomes with other possible treatments in clinical trials. There are some concerns with these two drugs though, as Dexamethasone has shown to cause severe mental health issues such as insomnia, psychosis, anxiety and increased agitation and Remdesivir has shown to cause nausea, vomiting, fainting and increased sweating. He had also included that convalescent plasma (blood of those who recovered from COVID-19) continues to be a possibility for treatment, stating, “We know we have convalescent plasma, but we haven’t nailed that down yet. We are pretty sure that will be safe. Also, hyper immune globulin which is derived from convalescent plasma.”

The most promising of these treatments though, he observed, are monoclonal antibodies: antibodies produced by single clones of cells consisting of identical antibody molecules. 

With the progress scientists have made with finding a way to mitigate the virus, the pandemic may soon come to an end.

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