Could a coronavirus vaccine be here sooner than expected and if it was available would you be one of the first to take it?
Back when Ladders reported on the former’s preliminary trials, the pharmaceutical company had yet to complete the two months’ worth of safety data necessary to secure emergency authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. This is no longer the case.
Thanks to new mRNA technology, which aids the process by which cells make proteins and send them to various parts of the body, both Moderna and Pfizer have been able to expedite the trial process.
“Using mRNA as a medicine is a fundamentally different approach than treating disease with other drug classes,” Moderna said in a statement. “mRNA medicines take advantage of normal biological processes to express proteins and create a desired therapeutic effect. This enables the potential treatment of a broad spectrum of diseases, many of which cannot be addressed with current technologies.
We believe mRNA has the potential to transform how medicines are discovered, developed and manufactured – at a breadth, speed and scale not common in our industry.”
Ideally, if the FDA approves emergency submission clinician will immediately be trained on how to administer the selected dose. The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices will subsequently alert medical facilities that doses are safe to distribute to the general public.
Pfizer’s vaccines are particularly sensitive temperature. It’s reported that initial batches need to be stored at -70° C (-94° F) in order to remain preserved. To facilitate these criteria, Pfizer intends to ship orders in thermal containers that can maintain such the required temperatures for up to 15 days with dry ice.
Even still, the disproportionately affected population will be the first to receive batches. In fact, Dr. Anthony Fauci of the coronavirus task force predicts that the average American probably won’t have access to a vaccine until April, May, or June of 2021.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) identify the following communities as priorities: health care professionals, essential workers, long-term care facility residents, and staff, national security populations, seniors, Native Americans, the incarcerated, and people from racial and ethnic minority populations.
The CDC will require two doses to be administered a few weeks apart at hospitals, mobile clinics, and any institution that can support easy access to the first targeted recipients listed above.
It should be noted that vaccine trails aim to prevent clinically recognizable coronavirus infection not the transmission of the virus itself.
“Everyone thinks COVID-19 will go away with a vaccine,” William Haseltine, chair and president of Access Health International, explained during a sit-down with Kaiser Health News. “Ongoing clinical trials are primarily designed to show whether Covid-19 vaccines prevent any symptoms of the disease — which could be as minor as a sore throat or cough. But the trials, which will study 30,000 to 60,000 volunteers, will be too short in duration and too small in size to prove that the vaccines will prevent what people fear most — being hospitalized or dying — by the time the first vaccine makers file for emergency authorization, expected to occur later this year.”
Dr. Fauci is not alone in his assertion that following public health measures will only contribute to the strength of an already effective vaccine, given the virus at our pandemic’s center is such an unpredictable one.
“That means that initially, doses will be limited and until researchers learn more about how long the vaccine-induced protection against the COVID-19 virus lasts, we will still be wearing masks, washing our hands frequently, and social distancing to curb spread of the virus,” health and medicine expert Alice Park concluded.