Vaccine development is a lengthy process. To temper viral outbreaks, researchers will spend months identifying potential immunogens and antigens respective to a novel infection’s pathology before ranking each by order of performance.
Once the list is sufficiently shortened, experts of various disciplines will apply these agents to preclinical and clinical studies to make sure they’re not only viable but safe to administer to the public.
By and large, an unsafe vaccine is one that either induces severe or fatal allergic reactions or one that enfeebles populations with compromised immune systems.
The virus fueling the current Covid-19 pandemic, SARS-Cov-2, has presented the medical community with challenges that all but eliminate therapeutics as a plausible way to flatten the exponential growth curve.
SARS-Cov-2 is a mutated coronavirus. When zoonotic infections jump from animals to humans, it will exhibit characteristics that are inconsistent with preceding strains.
The coronavirus behind the SARS epidemic of 2002 was much less contagious than the virus we’re facing now. People with Covid-19 emit roughly 1,000 times more viral debris compared to peak-transmissions observed in patients with the aforementioned SARS infection.
Carriers also tend to be most infectious in the early stages of contraction—before symptoms appear or while they’re still mild.
The severity of the disease is also dependent on the behavior, health status, and age of its host. Moreover, every degree of severity has been linked to different prodromes. The only instructive symptoms of the virus are fever, shortness of breath and a dry cough. These occur as a result of prolonged inflammation in the lungs after the virus releases genetic material to hijack healthy cells.
Some patients with mild cases experience loss of taste and smell, or gastric discomfort, while others remain asymptomatic for the entire duration of infection.
The mortality rate is also widely inconsistent among every demographic. In some young people, the disease progresses just as quickly as it does in older people, even if the former does not have any relevant underlying conditions. This confluence of atypical correlates has made Sars-Cov-2 difficult to contain and understand.
Herd immunity might be the most polarizing addition at the present. The assertion that enough low-risk people will contract the disease and thereafter develop an immunity to it has been forwarded as a solution and as an affirmation by a small minority of academics. Both of these functions fall apart upon further inspection, unfortunately.
As the spread of Covid-19 progresses, the purported youthful immunity to the disease is beginning to fade. Less young otherwise healthy people die of the illness compared to the elderly and the immune-compromised, but an increasing list of outliers suggests that we may have underestimated the pathogen’s potential.
Several regions within the United States and abroad have reported instances of healthy young adults becoming critically and even fatally ill. Even if the majority of cases are not life-threatening, hospitalizations are required with enough regularity to warrant concern.
The fact that Covid-19 can cause severe reactions that require supportive pharmaceutical care means people who will not die of the disease are using resources that could save them millions of vulnerable sufferers who surely die without them.
Many infected people develop antibodies for SARS-Cov-2 within twelve weeks, but it is still unknown if the virus can infect someone twice.
“In some cases, this immunity is only short term. The flu virus, for example, mutates every season and a new strain affects us. This means that you can still catch the flu the following year but you’d be extremely unlikely and unlucky to catch it twice in one season,” Dr. Sara Kaya explained. “In the case of coronavirus, there have been some reports of patients testing positive for coronavirus soon after discharge, despite having apparently recovered from the initial infection. One patient was from Osaka in Japan and the other from Chengdu City in China. There may be other cases we are unaware of at the moment.”
The truth of the matter is, virologists are working around the clock to develop a SARS-Cov-2 vaccination to prevent unbridled outbreaks in the future, not to suppress the one that is currently taking shape.
In the meantime, medical professionals are analyzing all of the preemptive actions that might slow the rate of transmission, and ensure infected individuals remain in fighting shape in the weeks it takes for Covid-19 to run its course.
The best anyone can do is stay indoors and address each symptom independently until our data set is long enough to squat SARS-Cov-2 before it disintegrates the economic fabric of affected nations.