Coronavirus vaccine candidates are already being trialled in animals and humans. Plus, the cutting-edge drugs being developed to counter the pandemic.
COVID-19 has spread across the globe with unseen speed and ferocity. It’s forced the cancellation of major events including the Tokyo Olympics and sent the world into self-isolation in an attempt to curb the spread. Health authorities and governments are attempting to flatten the curve and mitigate extensive transmission in the community, while scientists and researchers turn their attention to the coronavirus causing the disease: SARS-CoV-2.
Since it was first discovered as the causative agent of COVID-19, scientists have been racing to get a better understanding of the virus’ genetic makeup and trying to unravel how to effectively treat infections. There’s no cure and medical specialists can only treat the symptoms of the disease. Many different treatment options have been proposed and some older drugs seem to be associated with positive outcomes — but much more work is required. However, the long-term strategy to combat COVID-19, which has spread to every continent on Earth besides Antarctica, is to develop a vaccine.
Developing new vaccines takes time, and they must be rigorously tested and confirmed safe via clinical trials before they can be routinely used in humans. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases in the US, has frequently stated that a vaccine is at least a year to 18 months away. Experts agree there’s a ways to go yet.