Is a COVID-19 vaccine near?


Many companies are looking for a COVID-19 vaccine. Just how long will it take?

A COVID-19 vaccine could mean the world for millions around the globe at present. Some preliminary results regarding mRNA vaccine appear promising. Companies Pfizer and BioNTech have just announced that their vaccine has also shown good results after Phase 3 clinical trials.

For example, the WHO recommends at minimum an effectiveness of at least 50 per cent before circulating the vaccine. Moreover, WHO guidelines indicate such vaccine must retain protection for at least six months from inoculation date.

Source: CBC News

As shown in the picture above, Pfizer is at Phase 3, and this is good news. Dr. Bryce Aylward, WHO’s senior adviser, stated that Pfizer’s vaccine could ‘fundamentally change the direction of the crisis’ by March. As Pfizer looks to close Phase 3 this month, serious breakthroughs could be imminent.

Another interesting fact about Pfizer’s vaccine is that its made from RNA. This type of vaccines are quick to manufacture and do not contain any virus or viral protein. Hence, they are relatively safer. Alan Bernstein, trained virologist and CEO of non-profit CIFAR, stated the Pfizer’s announcement represents a great result for humanity. ‘”There’s never been a vaccine made from RNA, so this is opening up a whole new world of making vaccines if this result holds up’, said Bernstein.

Moreover, the Canadian government has reserved over 20 million doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, with the option to order more. The European Union has reserved over 200 million doses, with the US preordering over 100 million. Both Pfizer and BioNTech guarantee they can produce up to 50 million doses by 2020 and over 1.3 billion doses by 2021.

Of course, we should be optimistic but there’s still a long way to go before the vaccines are widespread in the market. Until then, it is important to follow regulations such as wearing masks, social distancing and quarantine if having been in contact with a person who has tested COVID-19-positive.