Vaccines are supposed to protect you before you are exposed to a specific virus. The vaccine trains your immune system to recognize and attack the virus upon encountering it. A vaccinated person is protected from the virus and cannot pass it on to others.
Not all vaccines work 100%. The average vaccine takes ten years and has a 94% failure rate. There are four clinical trial stages or phases that a vaccine passes through before being available to the public.
A small number of healthy and diseased people are given the new vaccine. Healthy people can be given the vaccine and then infected with COVID-19. Effectiveness, side effects, and dosages are determined in this phase.
The number of diseased people is increased in Phase II to test the effectiveness of the vaccine. Vaccinated healthy people may be exposed to infected trials to determine the effectiveness to prevent contracting the virus.
This is not being done in the United States, but 30,000 people in 140 countries have volunteered for early human vaccine/infection trials.
Phase III is a large-scale randomized-placebo test lasting up to four years. Side effects are confirmed as well as the healing or prevention rate of the vaccine. Longer-term testing is done in Phase IV. Early human trials can speed up a process that typically takes years.
Over 100 projects are underway to develop a COVID-19 vaccine. Eight vaccines are in clinical trials with people. Early 2021 is optimistic to see a vaccine released to the public. Most likely, it will be mid-2021 before a vaccine is approved.
Last month, Moderna received FDA approval to begin Phase II testing of their vaccine. The plan is to start Phase III in July. The University of Oxford (England) is a bit further ahead than Moderna. They are testing both humans and monkeys. Their vaccine proved effective in monkey testing to prevent COVID-19. Their plan is to have 30,000,000 doses ready before Fall 2020.
Inovio shifted from a MERS vaccine to a COVID-19 vaccine late last year. The company is preparing for Phase II testing now. The University of Queensland (Australia) expects to enroll people in their Phase I trials in July 2020.
Johnson & Johnson and Sanofi are also working on COVID-19 vaccines. J&J is starting human trials within days. Pfizer and BioNTech are co-developing a vaccine. Their testing started less than 90 days ago.
Existing vaccines (polio, tuberculosis, and more) are being evaluated to prevent COVID-19. In some cases, these existing vaccines might treat the symptoms of COVID-19 better than preventing it. No vaccine offers a 100% guarantee of prevention.
This coronavirus is new to the world. Billions of people will need it. Hence the reason for so many companies to be exploring and developing a counter to COVID-19. It takes years to tweak a vaccine for high levels of effectiveness (over 90%). Measles, mumps, rubella vaccine is testing about 97% effective. Seasonal influenza might see a 60% effectiveness rate on a good year.
A 50% effective vaccine will protect many people. It is not a cure for COVID-19. The three best things you can do to protect yourself is to keep away from people (social distancing), wear a mask when appropriate, and to wash your hands often, especially when in public.
Just because there is a vaccine does not remove the personal responsibility to keep yourself as healthy as possible. The absolute best thing to do when you have COVID-19 is to shelter in place for whatever quarantine time is recommended by local doctors. Can a person die from a vaccine? Yes, it is possible.
Live Longer & Enjoy Life! – Red O’Laughlin – RedOLaughlin.com