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Experts Say Coronavirus Vaccine Not a Guarantee, Could Take Years

Experts Say Coronavirus Vaccine Not a Guarantee, Could Take Years

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As the world races to develop a vaccine for COVID-19, experts have been careful in projecting a particular time limit for when we might have one.

This is because vaccine development is a long, painstaking process which involves several steps and trials; with a very real possibility of failure in any one of these stages. We have seen this happening for many other diseases such as HIV, dengue, SARS, among others.

Dr David Nabarro, a professor of global health at Imperial College London, and a special envoy to the World Health Organisation (WHO) told CNN,

In such a scenario, other treatments might have to be developed, but the disease may not be wiped out completely.

"It's absolutely essential that all societies everywhere get themselves into a position where they are able to defend against the coronavirus as a constant threat, and to be able to go about social life and economic activity with the virus in our midst," Nabarro told CNN.

It took four years to develop a vaccine for mumps and five to get a vaccine for Ebola. In some cases, such as with the HIV virus, SARS, dengue, efforts to find a vaccine have eluded doctors.

However, many experts remain optimistic by the progress shown in the vaccine development for COVID-19 and by the fact that unlike HIV or malaria, the coronavirus does not seem to mutate rapidly.

Out of the over 100 trials underway, eight are currently enrolling volunteers, with only three among them to have entered Phase 2. Others are still in pre-clinical development.

While this is the fastest the world has ever been in producing a vaccine, there is a possibility that it takes years to finally get and mass-produce one.

Dr Peter Hotez, dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine in Houstan, told CNN, “We've never accelerated a vaccine in a year to 18 months. It doesn't mean it's impossible, but it will be quite a heroic achievement. We need plan A, and a plan B.”

Repurposing of drugs, randomized controlled trials, symptomatic management and supportive care are other options to parallelly work on until a vaccine is in sight.

(With inputs from CNN)

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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