Published Friday, July 10, 2020

Race on developing covid-19 vaccine,
says report

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Coronavirus is spreading around the world, but there are still no vaccines to protect the body against the disease it causes, covid-19. Medical researchers are working hard to change that.

According to BBC news, the virus spreads easily and the majority of the world's population is still vulnerable to it. "A vaccine would provide some protection by training people's immune systems to fight the virus so they should not become sick."

This would allow lockdowns to be safely lifted, and social distancing to be relaxed, said the British Broadcasting Corporation in its report.

Research is happening at breakneck speed. About 200 groups around the world are working on vaccines and 18 are now being tested on people in clinical trials.

The first human trial data, reported by the U.S. company Moderna, said neutralising antibodies were found in the first eight people who took part in their safety trials. It appears positive showing the first eight patients all produced antibodies that could neutralise the virus.

A group in China showed a vaccine was safe and led to protective antibodies being made. It is being made available to the Chinese military.

In Oxford, the first human trial in Europe has started with more than 800 recruits and has signed a deal with AstraZeneca to supply 100 million doses (30 million for the UK) if it works.

And completely new approaches to vaccine development are in human trials, about 300 people will have the vaccine over the coming weeks, as part of a trial led by Robin Shattock and his colleagues, at Imperial College London.

However, no-one knows how effective any of these vaccines will be.

A vaccine would normally take years, if not decades, to develop. Researchers hope to achieve the same amount of work in only a few months.

Most experts think a vaccine is likely to become widely available by mid-2021, about 12-18 months after the new virus, known officially as Sars-CoV-2 (covid-19) first emerged.

That would be a huge scientific feat and there are no guarantees it will work.

Four coronaviruses already circulate in human beings. They cause common cold symptoms and we don't have vaccines for any of them, said the BBC in its report.

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