KT edit: The vaccine race: sprint or marathon

The problem with rushing to some sort of a goal in double-quick time is a hazard because one does not know what the side-effects are and how long the protection lasts




The race for a vaccine to stymie the pandemic is still fluctuating between being a sprint or a wearying marathon. The latest breakthrough came on Monday through Pfizer and BioNTECH indicating that their latest tests showed a high degree of T cells being generated to combat the virus. This is good news as these entities take the lead but with December as the deadline for activation and the dissemination likely to take several weeks, we are still six months away from that defence. While a few countries and the UAE spearheading that school in which the numbers of the afflicted are being controlled by mass testing and the imposition of controls, the Covid-19 spike continues to rear its head in many parts of the world with last week accounting for several highs. It is difficult to quantify  the course that it will take through the next few months what with populations and some administrations unable to convince their public of the need to maintain safe distancing and the wearing of masks. That medical science understands the enormity of the blight is reflected in the fact that there are now 165 vaccines in the race for the  tape. Of these, 140 are still nascent and not yet moved onto human trials while 18 are being tested with varying but yet non conclusive results. Another 12 have expanded their province vis a vis humans and six are into mass testing. One vaccine approved by China's Central Military Commission and ostensibly researched by Cansino Biologics is being given to the public. Its efficacy is still not written in stone.
The problem with rushing to some sort of a goal in double-quick time is a hazard because one does not know what the side-effects are and how long the protection lasts. It is a sobering thought that HIV has not achieved a vaccine in 36 years. The average time for a vaccine to replace any empirical cure is 10.7 years. No wonder then that many nations with advanced pharma technology bare into rapid fire mode with the US, for example, determined to market a vaccine by January 2021 under its fast-track Operation Warp Speed initiative. One can only hope that a race begun must have a winner.
 


More news from OPINION