Concerns about the coronavirus abound. Many people are fearful, and understandably so. There is so much we don’t know about how it works and what treatments can be used to help those who contract COVID-19. In an attempt to combat the illness, there are many people who are working to develop a vaccine.
For all the complaints about Big Pharma and the conspiracy theories surrounding it, there are some definite advantages to wielding that degree of power and amount of money. Currently, it means that pharmaceutical companies are well positioned to undertake the enormous task that is research and development for a vaccine.
Johnson & Johnson, Sanofi, and Pfizer are among the pharmaceutical companies who have begun working to develop a vaccine to varying degrees of success. Johnson & Johnson had begun a human trial but stopped it due to unexplained illness in a participant. Sanofi has begun human trials, though results likely won’t be forthcoming until the end of the year.
Pfizer, who teamed up with Germany’s BioNTech, has also been performing human trials and have reported a measure of success in producing an immune response.
Government agencies aren’t sitting idly by either. The CDC has a broad mission to promote various avenues of public health. The Department of Health and Human Services is getting involved as well through the National Institutes of Health.
More specifically, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases is involved in the clinical research process of developing a vaccine. They are also able to provide support and funding for external research institutions who can further research and development efforts.
NIAID has a vaccine they have developed in partnership with Moderna Inc, a biotechnology company, that is currently in clinical testing.
The United States is far from alone in attempts to develop a vaccine. Universities from around the world are participating in research and development. The University of Oxford in England and the University of Queensland in Australia are hard at work trying to create a viable vaccine.
Oxford partnered with AstraZeneca, a pharmaceutical company. They began clinical testing in April. It was stopped in September due to possible side effects, but later resumed. Queensland expects to enroll participants in their trial from December 2020 through March 2021 and anticipate rolling out a vaccine later in the year if the trial is successful.
There are many people involved in the process of developing a vaccine to combat COVID-19 and the coronavirus that causes it. Pharmaceutical companies, government agencies, and universities are all heavily involved in research and development projects that will hopefully lead to success soon. For those suffering or at high risk, it can’t come soon enough.
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