Why Are There So Many Vaccines In Development
Typically, many vaccine candidates will be evaluated before any are found to be both safe and effective. For example, of all the vaccines that are studied in the lab and laboratory animals, roughly 7 out of every 100 will be considered good enough to move into clinical trials in humans. Of the vaccines that do make it to clinical trials, just one in five is successful. Having lots of different vaccines in development increases the chances that there will be one or more successful vaccines that will be shown to be safe and efficacious for the intended prioritized populations.
A Guide To Global Covid
- Governments, multilateral organizations, and private firms have spent billions of dollars to develop effective vaccines for COVID-19.
- More than two dozen vaccinesincluding ones by Pfizer and BioNTech, Moderna, and Sinopharmare already being distributed, and about half of the global population is fully vaccinated.
- Vaccines go through rigorous testing for safety and effectiveness before they are approved for public use.
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Percent Of Population At Least Partially Vaccinated By Country Income Level
Low- and middle-income countries have been largely relying on COVAX, the UN-backed program, to get vaccines. Richer nations can collectively purchase vaccines, fund vaccine development and manufacturing and ensure vaccination in poorer countries.
The fund plans to provide 2 billion doses by the end of the year, with the aim of covering at least 20% of the population of participating countries. However, the program has experienced delays. Many of the COVAX program vaccines are manufactured in India, a country that limited COVID-19 vaccine exports while dealing with a serious outbreak of the virus.
Infectious diseases don’t have any boundaries or barriers. COVID doesn’t discriminate based on socioeconomic status, race, ethnicity. So, it can affect anybody, said Kuppalli. Our world will not be safe unless everybody is protected. That is how we stop the pandemic.
How Many Coronaviruses Are There
Coronaviruses didn’t just pop up recently. They’re a large family of viruses that have been around for a long time. Many of them can cause a variety of illnesses, from a mild cough to severe respiratory illnesses.
The new coronavirus that causes COVID-19 is one of several known to infect humans. It’s probably been around for some time in animals. Sometimes, a virus in animals crosses over into people. That’s what scientists think happened here. So this virus isn’t new to the world, but it is new to humans. When scientists found out that it was making people sick in 2019, they named it as a novel coronavirus. Experts call these strains SARS-CoV-2.
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What Is The Status Of Covid
More than twenty vaccines have been approved for general or emergency use in countries including China, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States. As of late 2021, close to nine billion doses had been administered worldwide. Several countriesincluding Portugal, Singapore, and the United Arab Emirateshave made significant progress in immunizing their citizens, while many others have vaccinated only small fractions of their populations.
The uneven rollout of vaccines was felt sharply in places such as India, where the spread of the delta variant and relaxed restrictions led to a devastating surge in mid-2021 that impeded vaccine shipments elsewhere. The country eventually ramped up its vaccination campaign, immunizing more than five hundred million people by the end of the year. Meanwhile, the World Health Organization has warned that the lack of access to vaccines in Africa, where less than 10 percent of the population has been fully vaccinated, will prolong the pandemic.
How Do Mutations Happen
When a virus infects a host cell, its genetic material must be copied so that it can be put into new viruses. These new viruses are eventually released from the host cell and can go on to infect new cells.
Viruses use an enzyme called a polymerase to copy their genetic material.
However, polymerases arent perfect, and they can make mistakes. These mistakes can result in a mutation. Many times, a mutation either does nothing or is harmful to a virus. But in some cases, it may help the virus.
When mutations are harmful, they can affect a virus ability to infect or multiply within a host cell. Because they dont function well, new viruses that contain a harmful mutation often dont survive.
However, sometimes a mutation gives a newly produced virus an advantage. Perhaps it allows the virus to bind more tightly to a host cell or helps it escape the immune system.
When this happens, these mutant, or variant, viruses can become more common within a population. This is what were currently seeing with the new variant strains of SARS-CoV-2.
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Messenger Rna Vaccinesalso Called Mrna Vaccines
Researchers have been studying and working with mRNA vaccines for decades and this technology was used to make some of the COVID-19 vaccines. mRNA vaccines make proteins in order to trigger an immune response. mRNA vaccines have several benefits compared to other types of vaccines, including shorter manufacturing times and, because they do not contain a live virus, no risk of causing disease in the person getting vaccinated.
mRNA vaccines are used to protect against:
Eradication Of Diseases Through Vaccination
Eradication is the ultimate goal of vaccination against a disease.
On the way to the eradication of polio
Polio is targeted for global eradication. This has become possible through the polio vaccine that was developed in 1955. The WHO estimates that in 2015, 85% of infants around the world received three doses of polio vaccine. And the number of paralytic polio cases have since the 1980s, from an estimated 350,000 to 400,000 paralytic cases per year to 22 reported cases in 2017.
Eradication of smallpox
While the benefits might possibly be forgotten as vaccine-preventable diseases have lost their threat thanks to the introduction of the vaccines it is still true that people around the world including those in richer countries continue to benefit from vaccinations.
One of the greatest successes of global health is eradication of smallpox. Smallpox, which just decades ago killed several hundred thousand people every year was successfully eradicated in 1980 thanks to the global vaccination program.21
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Percent Of Population Covered By Vaccine Purchases
If other countries aren’t vaccinated, it’s not good for the world’s health, Ezekiel Emanuel, a health policy expert and professor at the University of Pennsylvania who advised President Joe Bidens transition, told USA TODAY in late March. And its not good for returning to normal because if you want to return to normal, part of that is trade, travel, educational and other exchanges. All of that requires vaccination around the world.
What Share Of The Population Has Been Fully Vaccinated Against Covid
The following chart shows the share of the total population that has been fully vaccinated against COVID-19. This represents the share that have received all doses prescribed by the vaccination protocol. If a person receives the first dose of a 2-dose vaccine, this metric stays the same. If they receive the second dose, the metric goes up by 1.
This data is only available for countries which report the breakdown of doses administered by first and second doses.
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Whats Known About The New Variants Of Coronavirus
Now lets dig deeper into some of the more widespread coronavirus variants that you may have heard of in the news.
Well explore where these variants originated and what makes them different from earlier versions of the new coronavirus.
Its important to note that new variants are being identified all of the time. Two examples of this include the variants recently identified in
may soon become the main type of coronavirus in the United States.
How Covid Vaccines Are Being Divvied Up Around The World
An injection syringe of the COVID-19 vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech, used for a trial in a hospital in Ankara, Turkey.Credit: Dogukan Keskinkilic/Anadolu Agency/Getty
Vaccine developers who have already reported promising phase III trial results against COVID-19 estimate that, between them, they can make sufficient doses for more than one-third of the worlds population by the end of 2021. But many people in low-income countries might have to wait until 2023 or 2024 for vaccination, according to estimates from the Duke Global Health Innovation Center in Durham, North Carolina.
Manufacturers have scaled back their short-term production estimates over time, says Rasmus Bech Hansen, chief executive of Airfinity, a life-sciences market analytics firm in London. But the makers of the three vaccines that seem closest to widespread distribution AstraZeneca, Pfizer and Moderna estimate a total production capacity of 5.3 billion doses for 2021, which could cover between 2.6 billion and 3.1 billion people, depending on whether AstraZenecas vaccine is administered in two doses or one and a half . And a vaccine created at the Gamaleya National Center of Epidemiology and Microbiology in Moscow could cover another 500 million people per year outside Russia from 2021, says the Moscow-based Russia Direct Investment Fund, which is supporting its development.
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During The Omicron Surge Black New Yorkers Were Hospitalized At A Rate More Than Twice That Of White Residents
Black New Yorkers were hospitalized with Covid-19 at more than twice the rate of white New Yorkers during the recent Omicron wave, an indication that the health disparities that have marked the entire pandemic are in some respects deepening, according to a new report released Wednesday by New York City officials, which highlighted the figure.
This inequity is worse than inequities seen in prior waves, the report, from the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, stated, referring to the difference in the age-adjusted hospitalization rates of Black and white New Yorkers.
Since the devastating first wave of Covid-19 cases in early 2020, Black and Latino New Yorkers have been hospitalized and died from the virus at higher rates than white and Asian New Yorkers. There have been many factors contributing to this, ranging from higher rates of underlying health conditions like diabetes and hypertension in some groups to varying exposure risk at work or in crowded, multigenerational homes, as well as access to top-tier hospitals, according to interviews with public health experts.
The latest health department report cites a new factor that may have contributed to the higher hospitalization rate among Black New Yorkers during the surge in December and January as hospitals across the city strained to care for the sudden influx of patients: a relatively low rate of booster shots.
Covid Vaccines: How Fast Is Progress Around The World
More than nine billion doses of coronavirus vaccines have been administered, in at least 197 countries worldwide.
However, there are vast differences in the pace of progress in different parts of the world.
Some countries have secured and delivered doses to a large proportion of their population – but others are some way behind.
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Diphtheria Tetanus And Pertussis Vaccine
Diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis are all bacterial diseases and a combination vaccine against all three diseases is commonly used.
- Diphtheria primarily infects the throat and upper airways and is fatal in 5 10% of cases.
- Tetanus is not passed person-to-person but through spores of a bacteria living in soil and animal intestinal tracts. These bacteria enter the body through wounds and release a toxin that affects the nerves, which causes muscle stiffness and spasms.
- Pertussis is a highly contagious disease of the respiratory tract, commonly known as whooping cough. Children who contract pertussis tend to have coughing spells that last four to eight weeks, but the highest fatality is in young infants. Vaccinating health workers and pregnant women is the most effective strategy for preventing disease in infants too young to be vaccinated.
The chart shows the progress over time of DTP3 immunization coverage of children around the world. By clicking on any country you can see the change in that country over time.
The WHO reports in 2017 that 85% of infants worldwide received 3 doses of diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis vaccine . Also in 2016 130 countries had reached at least 90% coverage with the DTP3 vaccine.56
If we look at the change over time by world region it is South Asia in particular that stands out. While 85% of one-year-olds today are immunized, that same figure was as low 6% in 1980.
An Appeals Ruling Bars The Us From Expelling Any Endangered Migrant Families On Public Health Grounds
WASHINGTON The Biden administration can no longer use a public health rule to justify expelling migrant families who cross the border without documentation if doing so would subject them to persecution or torture, according to a federal appeals panel ruling issued on Friday.
At the beginning of the pandemic, the Trump administration turned to the obscure provision of public health law, known as Title 42, issuing an order that gave border officials the authority to immediately turn migrants away at the southwest border, even if they were seeking asylum.
The Biden administration has kept the order in place for all migrants except children who arrive at the border without a parent or guardian. Officials have said it falls to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to decide when the rule can be lifted. The agencys next review of the policy will be in April.
For now, the Executive may expel the Plaintiffs, but only to places where they will not be persecuted or tortured, said the ruling, issued by a panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. To convey that, immigration law experts say migrants need to tell officials that they are at risk of such an outcome. By law, that is done through a so-called credible fear hearing, a time-consuming, resource-intensive step that immigration officials have largely been able to avoid during the pandemic because of the public health rule.
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Naively Ambitious: How Covax Failed On Its Promise To Vaccinate The World
Overall, 56% of the global population has received at least one dose, but those vaccines are wildly unevenly distributed, with just 7.1% of people in low-income countries having received at least one dose. Some 847 million more doses is needed to bring all countries to 40% vaccination rate. COVAX, the WHO-led collaboration created to give all nations equal access to shots, is expected to deliver around 200 million more doses before the end of the year, but that still leaves a supply gap of around 650 million vaccines needed to vaccinate 40% of those in low-income countries.
That number can be redistributed from what high-income countries expect to have by the end of this year. So its not an overall supply challenge, said Udayakumar. Its very much an allocation challenge, as well as getting high income countries more and more comfortable that they dont need to hold on to hundreds of millions of doses, for contingencies.
The vaccine shortage for low-income countries is less than the surplus vaccines within the G7 countries and the European Union, according to separate analyses from both Duke and Airfinity, a life sciences analytics firm that is tracking vaccine distribution.
The Vaccine Testing Process
The development cycle of a vaccine, from lab to clinic.
PRECLINICAL TESTING: Scientists test a new vaccine on cells and then give it to animals such as mice or monkeys to see if it produces an immune response.
PHASE 1 SAFETY TRIALS: Scientists give the vaccine to a small number of people to test safety and dosage, as well as to confirm that it stimulates the immune system.
PHASE 2 EXPANDED TRIALS: Scientists give the vaccine to hundreds of people split into groups, such as children and the elderly, to see if the vaccine acts differently in them. These trials further test the vaccines safety.
PHASE 3 EFFICACY TRIALS: Scientists give the vaccine to thousands of people and wait to see how many become infected, compared with volunteers who received a placebo. These trials can determine if the vaccine protects against the coronavirus, measuring whats known as the efficacy rate. Phase 3 trials are also large enough to reveal evidence of relatively rare side effects.
EARLY OR LIMITED APPROVAL: Many countries have procedures for providing emergency authorizations for vaccines, based on preliminary evidence that they are safe and effective. In addition, some countries such as China and Russia began administering vaccines before detailed Phase 3 trial data was made public. Experts have warned of serious risks from jumping ahead of these results.
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The Future Of Covid Antiviral Pills And Medications
Antiviral medications seem to have a bright future ahead of them.
COVID-19 antivirals are based on early research done on coronaviruses from the 2002-04 SARS-CoV and the 2012 MERS-CoV outbreaks. Current breakthroughs in this technology may pave the way for better pharmaceuticals in the future.
One half of Pfizers medication, ritonavir, currently treats many other viruses including HIV/AIDS.
Gilead Science is currently developing oral derivatives of remdesivir, another polymerase inhibitor currently only offered to inpatients in the United States.
More coronavirus antivirals are currently in the pipeline, offering a glimpse of control on the looming presence of COVID-19.
Authors Note: The medical information in this article is an information resource only, and is not to be used or relied on for any diagnostic or treatment purposes. Please talk to your doctor before undergoing any treatment for COVID-19. If you become sick and believe you may have symptoms of COVID-19, please follow the CDC guidelines.