Currently, there are over fifteen coronavirus vaccine trials taking place in different countries around the world with another one hundred being set up. Although no formulas have been commercially launched yet, pharma companies and research institutes are working to develop a vaccine as soon as possible.
There have been a number of challenges in developing a coronavirus vaccine. According to the medical community, there is increasing pressure on creating a vaccine in the shortest possible time span. This can impact the effectiveness and reliability of the vaccine.
For instance, the president of the US, Donald Trump recently announced how the US will have a vaccine for coronavirus ‘way before’ the end of the year although the health experts, including those in White House Task Force, have stated otherwise.
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The chief of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Dr. Stephen Hahn has stated that the medical community’s main priority is to ensure the ‘effective and safety’ of the vaccine. The time for the development of the vaccine cannot be predicted.
Other health professionals have stated that a vaccine can take several months or even a year to be commercially launched. If the research and coronavirus vaccine trials are continued, a vaccine will be in the market by the mid of 2021, according to the majority of experts.
In order to speed the trials for coronavirus vaccine, several clinical trials in the US will be soon set up at different sites in research institutes as well as hospitals. Last Wednesday, federal officials announced that the trials will soon be taking volunteers for testing.
A website specifically for recruiting participants for Phase I of coronavirus vaccine trials is being developed by the Covid-19 Prevention Trials Network. The trials with the new volunteers are likely to start by the end of the month.
Alex Azar, who is the Health and Human Services Secretary, said that the success of the vaccine trials depends on the participation of thousands of volunteers. The aim of the coronavirus vaccine trials is to “substantial quantities of a safe, effective vaccine by January 2021,” Azar said.
Planning a vaccine trial is only easy in concept. In reality, a trial grows larger and becomes difficult to manage with the passage of time as it progresses from one phase to another.
During the process, the results can change and medicine or vaccine that showed promising results, in the beginning, may not be deemed suitable in the end. The lengthy procedure also allows scientists to devise a standard dosage which is both safe and effective.
Therefore, coronavirus clinical trials that have reported benefits during the early stages cannot be launched in the market just yet. The future of the vaccine depends largely on the results from the larger and later stages of the trial.
Through the new volunteering program by the Covid-19 Prevention Network, at least five large coronavirus vaccine trials are expected to begin at the end of July. In addition, other trials testing alternative medicines such as monoclonal antibody treatment are also to be held at the same time.
The aims of the network are intense and may be difficult to achieve. However, as the pandemic has grown worse in the US as well as elsewhere in the world, such intense efforts are need of the time.