Today’s post is to talk about two of the most awaited items that, if functional, can potentially become game-changers in our fight against the COVID-19 Pandemic. Within this article, I am going to talk about the development and potential impacts of a functional COVID-19 vaccine and treatment. Without these two, despite of our advanced medical equipment and research, our world is currently struggling to contain one of the most dangerous viruses we have ever seen. The nature of this virus is such that even after months of lockdown, social distancing, and preventative measures, the pandemic continues to grow, infect, and kill thousands every day. So, until we get a functional vaccine and develop herd immunity, or come up with a guaranteed treatment, we must continue to remain careful.
Currently, there are dozens of companies attempting to create a viable vaccine for COVID-19. They are all racing to become the first company to create such a vaccine. After all, such a feat can bring the company to the forefront of the medical and biotechnology community. The creation of a functional vaccine can lead to the drastic improvement of a company’s reputation and stock. Various companies such as Novavax, Inovio, Moderna, and BioNTech have seen promising progress within their vaccine campaigns. However, despite of this and their persistent efforts, a global supply of an accurate vaccine is expected to come between this fall and January 1, 2021 due to the clinical trials and approval process vaccines have to go through. This can potentially be a huge game-changer in our fight against COVID-19. After all, throughout history, vaccines have widely eliminated the threat of diseases such as Smallpox, which had killed hundreds of millions of people before. Therefore, the introduction of a vaccine can prevent millions of COVID-19 cases and save thousands of lives. However, this would only work if the majority of the population agreed to take the vaccine. In a recent poll, around 1/3 of Americans said that they would not get vaccinated. With only around 2/3 of the population taking the vaccine, according to Dr. Fauci, we would not be able to develop herd immunity and stop this pandemic. Another factor to be taken into account is efficacy rate. Most Influenza vaccines have around a 50% efficacy rate, and if this would be the case for a COVID-19 vaccine, herd immunity would certainly not be achieved with just 2/3 of the population taking it. Therefore, we must focus on vaccine education to achieve herd immunity.
Until a viable vaccine is not made, in the meantime, pharmaceutical companies are continuing to persistently search for a guaranteed treatment for COVID-19. This is certainly needed to prevent more deaths, ease complications, and reduce recovery time. After all, the second best thing after a vaccine is a treatment. Through treatments, we must always try to prevent deaths, and currently, in a time where we can’t even prevent infection, the development of a cure is even more necessary. I have seen that there is a common misconception about how Gilead’s Remdesivir might be the “miraculous silver-bullet” to stop COVID-19, and that this is the treatment that will help us prevent thousands of deaths. Although Remdesivir has shown some potential, a lot more needs to be researched to prove its credentials. There have been a few clinical trials that have all said that if given at the right time, Remdesivir can reduce recovery time, fatality rate, and severity, but there is no conclusive evidence that points towards Remdesivir completely curing COVID-19 yet. There is still further research going on to explore Remdesivir’s dosing strategies and side effects. Combination therapies involving Remdesivir and other drugs such as Baricitinib are also being looked into. The bottom line is that so far, we do not have any proven, reliable treatments that can completely cure COVID-19, so individuals must not get complacent and think that we have a cure to the pandemic.
So, what should we do until a vaccine or treatment has been found? The same thing we have been doing for the past few months. Try to maintain social distancing from others at all times, and always sanitize anything or anyone that has been outside of your home. Now that people have started to go out, it is important to avoid crowded places and wear masks at all times. In some places, wearing a mask has also become law, so you may want to check with your local government websites. Millions of people have been infected and we have already lost hundreds of thousands of lives. Despite of this, our fight against COVID-19 is not over, and until vaccines and guaranteed treatments are found, we must continue to remain careful and not drop our guards.