COVID-19 Vaccine Breakthroughs
By Bikram Bains
Photo: Oxford University
After the seemingly endless pandemic, there is a long-awaited breakthrough with two vaccines that could bring it all to an end. Pfizer and Moderna have each developed vaccines with 95% and 90% efficacy in an unprecedented amount of time.
The vaccines developed have utilized a relatively new kind of technology: the mRNA. This vaccine uses genetic material to coax the body into developing defenses against the virus. Although Moderna has the less effective vaccine, it has been working on the technology for years before this pandemic. Pfizer partnered with a German biotechnology company, BioNTech, in order to gain the lead in developing a vaccine. Key differences between the two companies’ experimental design led to Pfizer gaining the ultimate lead in analysis of data. However, Moderna was only a week behind them.
With the news of a new vaccine, the World Health Organization has come out with loose guidelines on how to distribute the vaccine. WIth the wide impact of the coronavirus, the WHO wants the vaccine to be a “global, public good.” The equal access of vaccines should be a priority, however, WHO states that it wants healthcare workers to receive the vaccine first due to the risk they face everyday. They have also expressed concerns over areas of the world where a vaccine may not be readily accepted, and want governments to make a plan to distribute them.
Scientists estimate that these vaccines will be ready for distribution by possibly the end of December! There are factories under construction that will aim to produce the vaccines for the entire country. Other companies are vying for a position to be the ones who distribute the vaccine all cross the country. This vaccine will not only get the country back on track, but provide jobs and boost the economy at the same time.