COVID-19 Vaccine: Latest Updates

  • Fri, 25 Sep 2020 17:07:21 GMT
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August 7,  2020 – Public health experts are hoping one or several vaccines for COVID-19 will be ready by 2021. Close to 200 vaccines for the disease are under study, and several  candidates have moved to phase III human studies. That’s the final step to prove if the vaccine is safe and effective before it can get FDA approval.

To help speed up development and fund the trials, the U.S. has set up Operation Warp Speed, a partnership with the Department of Health and Human Services, the FDA and other federal agencies. Its goal is to deliver 300 million doses of a safe, effective vaccine by January 2021.   

These companies are included in the program: AstraZeneca, Janssen (Johnson & Johnson), Moderna, Novavax, Pfizer and Sanofi/GSK.

The FDA says that for any vaccine to be approved, it will need to prevent infection or decrease its severity in at least 50% of the people vaccinated. The goal, as with any vaccination, is to inoculate enough people with a vaccine that immunity spreads through a community, even if not everyone gets the vaccine. It’s called “herd immunity.” For this coronavirus, some experts say about 60% to 70% of the population would need to develop antibodies, whether from a vaccine or getting and recovering from COVID-19, to create herd immunity.

In other words, if not enough people get vaccinated once one or several are approved, it may prove difficult to reach herd immunity.

But, first, vaccine manufacturers must also show that it’s safe.

The FDA also said it could issue an emergency use authorization (EUA) for a COVID-19 vaccine, but that it would be decided on a case-by-case basis.

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