Coronavirus Vaccine . . .

Is it a question of 'when' . . . or 'if'?

In just five months coronavirus has spread all over the world, become classified as a pandemic, amassed more than 2.5 million cases and sent multiple countries into lockdown. It has been stated that the only way to truly overcome the global crisis is to create a vaccine. Scientists are working furiously to create one, but how long will it take, and what will go into it? 

Vaccines generally take between two and five years create. There are many stages involved, from the actual creation to multiple trials of testing, before the vaccine is ready for public use. However, the COVID-19 crisis is pushing scientists to find a vaccine faster than ever, so the vaccine could potentially be ready in 18 months. The first rounds of trials were held on 23 April 2020. More and more research institutes, such as the University of Queensland and other institutes in the US and Europe, are working together to find a vaccine. As the virus spreads around the globe, live samples are kept in CSIRO’s high-containment facility (the Australian Animal Health Laboratory) in Geelong and are studied and observed, so the characteristics of the virus are understood. This is a crucial step in finding a way to combat the virus. 

However, the coronavirus has many different strains. SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) was a pandemic that appeared in 2002 and was caused by the SARS coronavirus. There are now 33 new strains, 19 of which are believed to be new and continue to hinder scientist’s research. The virus also mutates. It first mutated when it became transferred to humans from animals (bats). The more exposure the virus has to humans, the more likely it is to mutate. Unfortunately, as the virus spreads through densely populated cities, it mutates faster. This means scientists need to continue to combat the virus but keep developing the vaccine as the virus mutates into something potentially more deadly. 

Anika LV