A vaccine is a medicine designed to provide immunity against infectious disease(Coronavirus) by making your immune system reactive against the virus in a safe way. It allows the immune system to derive strategies to defeat it. This can happen typically to generate antibodies to a protein specific to the disease-causing infection.
In this article, we will be discussing the road map of the preparation of the coronavirus vaccine as it has not yet been prepared. The coronavirus vaccine is the best hope for now for ending the pandemic. Currently, there is no such vaccine available to prevent the infection caused by the novel coronavirus. But still, researchers are racing to create one.
Coronavirus Vaccine: The Theoretical Review
Coronavirus is a family of viruses that causes illness, such as fever, cold, severe acute respiratory syndrome, and middle east respiratory syndrome(MERS). Both the severe acute respiratory syndrome(SARS) and the novel coronavirus come under the same family. Therefore, scientists named it SARS-CoV-2.
If the researchers start from scratch, it will take many years to discover the coronavirus vaccine but the SARS vaccine and MERS vaccine have identical potential. Therefore, researchers are playing smart and working on these vaccines to fight against COVID-19. This will save time and effort.
The novel coronavirus has a spike-like(crown-like) structure on its surface named S-proteins. These S proteins attach themselves to the human cells in order to multiply. Here the mission is to stop these S-proteins from getting in contact with the human cells. This will stop them from multiplying.
Therefore, the target is to approach other SARS-Cov-2 proteins that will interact with S-proteins and make them dissolve without reproducing inside the human body itself. The scientists are trying to modify the SARS vaccine into SARS-CoV-2.
Coronavirus Vaccine Missions
Some parameters need to be fulfilled by the coronavirus vaccine; COVID-19 vaccine mission, such as:-
- Ensuring safety: There are approximately 52 vaccines for the clinical trials on humans, along with 87 preclinical vaccines that are under active investigation in animals, and many of them have been tested on animals. Most of these vaccines improved the animal’s conditions from deteriorating but could not prevent the infection. Some of them also caused complications in their health, such as lung damage. Therefore, before launching the vaccine, it is necessary to ensure it’s safe for humans and prevent infection from spreading.
- Proving long-term protection: Among the 52 vaccines for the clinical trial on humans, some of them are effective enough to improve the condition in humans, but they fail to prevent them in the future from getting infected again. An effective coronavirus vaccine must be effective enough to protect people against COVID-19 for a long time.
- Coving all age groups: Most of the under-developed vaccines were effective on young people below the age of 45-50 years. But was unable to protect people above 50 years like the young ones. This is more important as the virus mostly attacks older adults. Therefore, an ideal coronavirus vaccine should work on all age groups of people with efficiency.
Also Read: Progress of Coronavirus Vaccine
What Type Of Approach Should Ideal Coronavirus Vaccine Have?
At present global health authorities and vaccine developers are working together on producing vaccines. Some of the approaches have been used in the past to create vaccines but didn’t work out. Therefore, here are some of the approaches that are quite new, such as:-
Live vaccines: It is a type of vaccine that uses a weakened (attenuated) immune system in which the vaccine contains weak germs causing disease, wanting the immune system to react and fight against all the viruses present in the body
1 or 2 doses of live vaccine are enough to protect against the germs for the entire life and the disease it causes.
Such types of vaccines prompt an immune system without causing disease. These vaccines have been found effective and safe against measles, mumps, rubella, smallpox, chickenpox. As a result, this causes antibodies to produce in the body that protects humans from the infection throughout life.
However, such vaccines require extensive safety testing and can be used in people who are immunized. But it can be dangerous to people with weak immune systems.
Inactive vaccines: Inactive vaccines contain killed versions of germs, causing the disease, which usually doesn’t provide lifelong immunity. Such a type of vaccine causes just an immune response against the disease. While producing these vaccines, a large amount of infectious virus needs to be handled carefully. This type of vaccine requires multiple doses, followed by booster doses, in order to provide lifetime immunity. Inactive vaccines are usually used to protect against Hepatitis A, Flu, Polio, and Rabies.
Genetically engineered vaccines: These vaccines contain genetically engineered RNA or DNA responsible for making copies of the S proteins. These S proteins cause an immune response to the virus. The approach to such vaccines does not require the infectious virus to be handled. But genetically engineered vaccines work is still under process and thus has not been licensed for human use.
COVID-19 Vaccines Blue Print From Development To Distribution
The development of the coronavirus vaccine will take time. It is because of the lengthy and necessary process that every vaccine has to undergo before use. Here is a small illustration of steps through which the vaccine need to undergo, such as:-
Initially, the vaccine is tested on animals to see if it world without causing any harm. The vaccine has to follow strict lab guidelines and usually takes three to six months to follow the guidelines. Along with these guidelines, the vaccine must also follow quality and safety practices.
They were followed by the testing of vaccines on humans. This phase is divided into three parts, Phase-I, Phase-II, and Phase-III. In Phase-I, the vaccines go under clinical trials for assuring its use on humans. In phase-II, the vaccine's dose is determined, the amount of vaccine required to make it effective. The last, phase-III, includes the efficacy and safety of the vaccine demonstrated on many people.
Currently, 52 testing vaccines for the clinical trials on humans, and at least 87 preclinical vaccines for investigating animals are under process, and most of them are in phase-I testing. It includes testing on animals; most of them were proved to be safe on animals but were only able to resolve the infection instead of protecting them further. There are still many phases to cover for an ideal coronavirus vaccine.
In the United States, the coronavirus vaccine can be licensed by the Food and Drug Administration(FDA) once it clears the phase-III testing, showing that it is safe and effective on humans without any side effects. Until and unless the vaccine clears all three phases, the scientists are expected to continue gathering safety data.
Many other health care regulators, such as the Center for Disease Control and Prevention(CDC), Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), will approve the vaccine by filtering it as per their requirements.
The F.D.A. has advised the vaccine makers to examine the drug in order to see whether it can protect at least 50% of the population. This is the reason why the development of the COVID-19 vaccine is taking the time to develop.
Basic Necessary Guidelines To Prevent COVID-19 Until The Vaccine Is Developed
Until the vaccine is developed, there are only two ways to prevent it, either you need to make your immune system strong enough to remain immune from the virus, or you have to adopt some changes, such as:-
- Avoid getting close to people who are sick or have COVID-19 symptoms.
- Cover your face, especially in public places or while coming close to others.
- Eat healthy foods and keep your respiratory and cardiovascular system healthy.
- Cutoff yourself if you are sick or even having minor symptoms of COVID-19 or any other health complications.
Continue living with these new habits until and unless the vaccine is not prepared. Until this pandemic doesn't come to an end, pay special attention to your health.
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Henry holds a diploma in Linguistics and is fluent in both, written and verbal Spanish. He is an avid reader and loves to stay updated about the healthcare industry. If you are reading about any major breakthrough in the medical field, know that Henry is the one who brought it to you.