Why the Development of the Covid-19 Vaccine was Quick
by Anna Lucas
The availability of the Covid-19 vaccine gives us hope that the global pandemic will soon come to an end. But along with this hope also comes doubt and misgivings. Fresh from the controversy of the Dengvaxia vaccine a few years back, our confidence with the Covid-19 vaccine is understandably low. The speed at which the vaccine was developed makes us a bit nervous. To our knowledge, a vaccine takes years to develop. The fastest vaccine ever made (excluding the covid-19) was the mumps, developed in the 1960s and took about four years to make.
As of end-December, there are already three (3) vaccines that have passed the final stages of clinical trials and have received approval and distribution in the United States and the United Kingdom. Though done quickly, these vaccines didn’t skip any step to develop. Several factors contributed to their fast development.
Research started way before the global pandemic.
Research on other related coronaviruses (such as SARS – severe acute respiratory syndrome and MERS – Middle East Respiratory Syndrome) was done even before 2020. In fact, clinical trials were conducted for the SARS vaccine as early as 2004. This paved the way for swift development of the Covid-19 vaccine since it is said that the SARS and the Covid-19 can be considered “cousins” having similar RNA make up.
There is no funding issue to delay progress.
Another major contributor to the quick development of the Covid-19 vaccine is the availability of enormous funding. Admittedly, one of the major hurdles in developing vaccines is the budget. Vaccine development takes years because of the escalating costs of conducting clinical trials. Researches are sometimes shelved because it lacks marketability, giving priority to more profitable ventures.
However, the Covid-19 vaccine is deemed as a high priority globally. Governments, private corporations, and non-profit organizations have provided funds amounting to billions of dollars to get the research on the way. As such, it allowed for parallel and multiple large-scale trials.
The swiftness in which the Covid-19 spread globally took its toll on the economy of several countries. Therefore, everyone understood the urgency to develop the vaccine. Pharmaceutical companies normally take months to agree upon the terms of collaboration. However, for this vaccine, it only took days to forge a partnership, as seen with Pfizer and BioNtech, as well as with Sanofi and GlaxoSmithKline.
Aside from the pharmaceutical companies, the patients also cooperated well in the trials. As many as 30,000 patients were studied. Regulators, such as the US Food and Drug Association and European Medicines Agency, expedited the processes and prioritized the guidance and review of the vaccine.
Is the vaccine safe?
All of these factors contributed to the quick development of the Covid-19 vaccine. Even though it was fast, it followed each rigorous step in making a vaccine without any shortcut. However, just like any vaccines and medicines, side effects may occur. It is still best to discuss with your doctor should you have doubts about using the vaccine.
Soon, Danny. Fast and Furious. Can we trust the speedy development of Covid-19 vaccines? The Straits Times. Retrieved from https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/fast-and-furious-can-we-trust-the-speedy-development-of-covid-19-vaccines?fbclid=IwAR2H5ZZIHETFQSyJqZGU4fBc5Eb7Xcw8BJI_5ZQok3GRik61o9f1JatTX4Y
Ramos, Christia Marie. (January 13, 2021) PH in final talks with Moderna for up to 20M vaccine doses. Inquirer.Net. Retrieved from https://globalnation.inquirer.net/193154/ph-in-final-talks-with-moderna-for-up-to-20m-vaccine-doses-delivery-expected-in-mid-2021