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COVID-19 Crises: What do You Need to Know About COVID-19 Vaccine?

COVID-19 vaccine
Credit: Dado Ruvic

Several vaccines, in large clinical trials, are in the process of raising the possibility of completely eradicating the COVID-19.

Donald Trump, president of the US, gave hope for developing an effective vaccine by the end of October. However, Moncef Slaoui, GCSA to the administration’s Operation Warp Speed, pulled down the opportunity in an interview.

He explained how there is a low possibility of developing a vaccine before November starts. Where Moderna, Pfizer, and AstraZeneca are working on to conduct large trials, Johnson & Johnson and Novavax are planning next for a trial in a month or two.

Larger Trial Means More Evident Results

The goal is to enroll at least 30,000 participants in every trial. Half of the participants would receive an active vaccine, while the remaining half would get an inert placebo.

The people giving and getting shots do not have any idea which injection they are using. It is to avoid any party having an idea about what will be the result.

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Such trials are called double-blind placebo control studies and are known to be best to reach a conclusion for a specific treatment in medicine.

Researchers prefer large clinical trials for realistic results. To judge a vaccine there is a need to administer it in a large group of people that is  prone to the virus. However, there is no idea where the virus would be present.

Holly Janes, a biostatistician at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, explains that to avoid any uncertainty, researchers choose a large group of people.

Cause Factors to Determine the Trial Successfulness

With a larger trial, scientists can easily predict if the vaccine will rightly work and is safe or not.

To testify against safety, researchers first pick small groups of healthy participants as the larger group may not show all the common side effects.

Vaccine effectiveness can be judged by comparing the number and severity of infections in groups receiving vaccine or placebo.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) holds the right to pass the right COVID-19 vaccine. An effective vaccine would be able to reduce the infection rate at least by 50%.

When will the Scientists Prepare an Active and Effective Vaccine?

Even since the pandemic began, everyone is questioning about its availability. Truth to be told, no one knows about it.

Up until now, researchers have been working on the event-driven trials. Jane highlights how there is no possibility of primary analysis before the researchers meet the minimum number of event-driven trials.

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In such pandemic situations, Jane calls events to be the confirmed cases of SARS-COV-2. She hopes to reach at least 150 events within the trial participants to imitate the prep for a vaccine.

To keep track of who is getting the vaccine or the placebo, the team appoints an independent body to keep a record. This data recording safety group is made up of experts who have all knowledge about clinical trial schemes and applications.

What Can Happen If Vaccine Is Ready Too Early?

If the researchers try to produce an early vaccine but fail in getting an effective one, the public would lose trust in the government. People would get sick, and the mortality rate would continue rising.

Even though with a 50% effective vaccine, people would still get infected, but producing such a partially effective vaccine is a better choice to manage the pandemic. Developing completely ineffective vaccines means exposing healthy people to infections too.

Not to forget, there is a need for sufficient research and long trials to avoid such flop COVID-19 vaccines. You can have a view on the past and current vaccine trials in the US on ClinicalTrials.gov.

About the author

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Adeena Tariq Lari

The author is a graduate of dental surgery from the Dow University Health Sciences, Karachi. She has an academic background in content writing as well as English literature, giving her an edge in the field. Adeena is always curious about physical and mental health. She is always passionate about research and delivering high-quality reliable content to users.

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