Science is paving the way for the world to start getting back to normal. 2020 has been the year of upheaval and I’m sure everyone is ready for some good news.
With recent vaccine breakthroughs, we are hoping that we can start implementing mass vaccination programmes once we know the vaccines are safe and have an acceptable level of efficacy.
The Latest from Moderna
Moderna chief executive Stephane Bancel said on Wednesday that his company’s new vaccine against coronavirus would not be ready for widespread public distribution until spring next year, according to reports.
The pharmaceutical company told the Financial Times that it is seeking approval for the vaccine from the European Medicines Agency (EMA) and the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
At a health conference on Wednesday, Bancel said it would not be able to seek FDA approval for its new vaccine until late January at the earliest.
Later in the hearing, Bancel testified that he had predicted that 700 million doses of the coronavirus vaccine would be available by the end of March or early April.
“If the vaccine proves safe and effective, approval before the end of the year is looking more likely than a few weeks ago”, he said.
He added that even if the vaccine is approved by the end of the year, only about 50 million doses would be available, and that will not be enough to provide half the population with the vaccine by 2020’s end.
He said he also expected the other dose of 700 million to be available by April 2021, but he said it was a goal they would struggle to meet.
The Virus is Spreading Throughout the Winter, Vaccines are More Important than Ever
According to the World Health Organization, as of November 6th 2020, over 52 million people worldwide are infected with coronavirus, of which about 1.2 million are said to have died with the disease.
A team of New York Times journalists has closely followed every single COVID-19 vaccine trial taking place worldwide, and more than 100 vaccines are in development.
Moderna, Pfizer and AstraZeneca have started phase 3 trials, while government officials have approved Operation Warp Speed – in the US.
The Times says authorities in China and Russia are pushing for vaccines to be released for full testing, but the vaccines won’t be available to Americans until the fall of 2021.
At a Senate hearing this week, US Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius told officials that she expects the vaccine to be on shelves in the United States by the end of the year.
It later clarified that it believed the first vaccine, which may be available in November or December, would go through a phase 3 trial before being made available to the public.
While the Russian government recently declared the Covid-19 vaccine ready for use, other researchers warned that the vaccine, known as Sputnik V, has not taken critical steps and has tested only 76 people.
If it is a viable vaccine, it must get FDA approval before it can be used, before the US requires further data.
The Covid-19 phase 3 trial is the largest to target 30,000 participants, said Dr. Yevgeny Kuznetsov, director of the Center for Infectious Diseases at the Russian Academy of Sciences in Moscow, who is overseeing the clinical trial for the vaccine.
The company developing the mRNA for the Covid-19 vaccine, for example, is one of the most advanced teams.
Scientists are More Optimistic this Winter.
Scientists are optimistic about the timetable for the coronavirus vaccine, but there is no way to know for sure whether its development will go according to plan in all companies, said Dr. David Hirsch, a professor at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine.
He predicts there will be several viable vaccines by the end of 2021, although he believes it could be ready for worldwide rollout within the next 8 months.
The minimum time frame for developing the vaccine’s efficacy is 12 to 18 months, provided that everything goes according to plan.
Here in the UK
LONDON – Hopes are growing that Oxford’s Covid-19 vaccine will be approved in time for the coronavirus outbreak in the early parts of winter 2021, as drug manufacturers and research centers seek to end the pandemic.
Dozens of vaccine candidates are currently undergoing clinical evaluation, and some are already conducting late-stage tests without yet seeking formal approval.
A leading expert on the development of coronavirus vaccines at Cambridge University believes it will be a matter of weeks before the results of clinical trials of potential vaccines are known.
Several vaccines are needed to protect the different population groups, including those with pre-existing health conditions.
Government officials in the UK said vaccines that are considered safe and effective could be phased in, with the first dose being delivered late this year or early next year and the second dose in mid-2021.
If the first Covid-19 vaccine is approved, UK officials said, people will have to wait until other clinical trials are completed, but not before the end of 2020 or beginning of 2021.
These studies will show how effective the vaccine is, whether it prevents them from falling ill, and how many vaccinations they need for the best results.
FDA guidelines say vaccines must protect against coronavirus before people get it.The latest vaccine will prevent the spikes of the virus from attaching and therefore allow the immune system to recognise and destroy the virus before it infects us.
FDA regulators are only prepared to approve a vaccine if it has been shown to be safe and effective.
This process usually takes 5 years, and developing an effective vaccine is only half the battle. One question that almost everyone has in mind is when the new coronavirus vaccine will be ready.
Dr. Robert Schiller, a leading health expert who works with international data and is a policy maker in the United States, says he is concerned.
He warns that pharmaceutical companies are not increasing production fast enough, and that the vaccine will not reach all people around the world until 2024.