Is it just us, or is just about everything on the news these days about COVID-19, or more specifically, a vaccine for preventing COVID-19? With all of this coverage, it may get you thinking, "what will a vaccine REALLY do for this world-wide pandemic?" Look no further as we discuss not only what a vaccine will do, but also how this could look in the future, and how far away we are from actually getting there.
Is a Vaccine the Answer to All Our Problems?
There is no guarantee that with any vaccine, it will be 100% effective, meaning that the amount the vaccine can protect you varies. Also, with any vaccine, the effectiveness could vary between age groups and peoples with underlying health conditions. So long answer short, no, it’s not going to be the answer to all of our problems.
What it will do, however, is slow the spread enough to start getting things back to normal and protect our most vulnerable populations. Developing an FDA regulated vaccine is the safest way to achieve herd immunity. Researchers have estimated that it would take “60-80% of the population to either recover from COVID-19 or have antibodies from a vaccine to prevent widespread.”
To put that in perspective, about 1% of the U.S. population has contracted the disease so far, and 142,755 people have died. That could mean before we reach herd immunity, more than 8.5 million more people could die. So, while it may not be 100% effective or a one-time-cure-all, it WILL slow the spread and prevent an invaluable number of needless deaths.
What Will the Vaccine Look Like in the Future?
For the most part, it’s too early to tell. There are over 100 projects underway aiming to find the safest and most effective vaccine. Many of those will likely fail, but that’s the beauty of research! The more we learn, the higher our success rate will be of beating this thing.
A big question going around right now is will the vaccine contain the live virus. A few research teams are evaluating this method of delivery, but most organizations are looking for other paths. One group is even looking at ways to introduce the coronavirus gene protein through another virus's harmless form.
Another question is, will this have to be a yearly vaccine? Again, it’s too early to tell, but as far as we can tell, the virus does not have the same “rapid genetic change” characteristics as other flu-like viruses. Most researchers doubt that one vaccine will provide life-long immunity, but some have said their vaccines could last up to a few years. Boosters could also be an option to lengthen the effectiveness of a vaccine. Still, ultimately it will take a long-term observation of patients after vaccination to know just how durable it is.
How Close Are We to Having a Vaccine?
Currently, the vaccine that is closest to approval is the Moderna candidate that enrolled patients for its phase III trial in late July. But as mentioned, there are over a hundred different projects underway, and only the safest and most effective candidates will be approved for public use.
Some government officials estimate that we could have an approved vaccine by 2021. This may be optimistic thinking, considering vaccines typically take years to go through the approval process. However, with the accelerated pace backed by the government, hopefully, it will be sooner rather than later. The only way to make this process go faster is to enroll patients in research studies as quickly as possible.
Volunteer at Centex Studies!
Centex Studies has COVID vaccine studies enrolling at the North Houston, South Houston, Lake Charles and McAllen locations, with studies in the North Houston and South Houston locations soon! We need volunteers of all ages, genders, races, occupations, and medical backgrounds. The only way to beat this thing is together!
Click here to sign up for COVID studies today! There is no cost or insurance required to participate, and compensation for study-related time and travel is available. Play your part and be a part of something bigger!