SARS-CoV-2 Vaccine

After a whole week of information about different vaccines and their diseases during World Immunization Week (on our Instagram), we will now take a look at possible vaccines against SARS-CoV-2. An immense effort is taken into developing vaccines all over the world, the Milken institute counts already 99 vaccines in development. [1]

As simple as the main goal of a vaccine sounds – make your body produce Antibodies to be protected in the future – as many approaches exist to feed this goal. In this graphical guide, 8 main platforms, which are currently worked on, are described. [2] Only more manyfold than the approaches to develop a vaccine are the hurdles that need to be overcome. The difficulties lie in the complexity of our immune system and in the one of the virus.
So you see, it is not an easy and straight forward process to get to a vaccine. As we explained before in the frame of immunization week, the vaccines on the marked and recommended for the public are all very safe, very efficient, and outweight the risk with benefits a lot. As you might also know most pharmaceutical drugs beeing at some stages in development fail.
However we have circumstances marking a light on our horizon. Today we are in the lucky situation that our basic scientific understanding, in areas as genomics and structural biology, is higher than ever.
Today we have no approved vaccines against any virus of the Coronaviridae family, where SARS-CoV-2 belongs to, but the epidemics SARS in 2003 and MERS in 2012 were also caused by Betacoronaviruses, similar to the SARS-Cov-2 causing the CODID-19 disease. A lot of effort went into developing a vaccine back then, but the epidemics were stopped before a vaccine could be approved for human use. However, some of the vaccines were already in phase I clinical trials, which pathes the way to an even faster development than before.
On the other hand, there are many viral diseases without any kind of vaccine or solid treatment, even after decades of research. For example, there is no vaccine against the HI-Virus, which causes AIDS, and the vaccine against the influenza virus has to be renewed every year. Nevertheless, all this research leads to an ever growing knowledge and understanding of viruses in general and the available prevention methods.

You see, there is no guarantee that a safe and efficient vaccine against SARS-CoV-2 will be on the marked next year, or even in several years. But scientists all around the world are working hard and doing their best!

 

Stay safe!

 

From asep with love 💚

Irene Hanke

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Specific References:

[1]: https://milkeninstitute.org/covid-19-tracker
[2]: https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-020-01221-y
llustration taken April 10, 2020. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration REUTERS – Dado Ruvic

General References:

Cohen, J. (2020). “Vaccine designers take first shots at COVID-19.” Science 368(6486): 14-16.
Corman, V. M., D. Muth, D. Niemeyer and C. Drosten (2018). “Hosts and Sources of Endemic Human Coronaviruses.” Adv Virus Res 100: 163-188.
Lurie, N., M. Saville, R. Hatchett and J. Halton (2020). “Developing Covid-19 Vaccines at Pandemic Speed.” New England Journal of Medicine.
Sansonetti, P. (2020). “COVID-19, chronicle of an expected pandemic.” EMBO Molecular Medicine n/a(n/a).