Image: CDC/Dr. Fred Murphy

Coronavirus Vaccine May Not Last Longer than One Season

The ongoing coronavirus pandemic now has nearly eight million cases around the world with an increasing death toll even though many countries have managed to control the virus’s spread and lifted their lockdown-related restrictions in order to return to normal life.

However, it has been argued that even though the coronavirus infection may have been controlled to an extent in some parts of the world, the vast majority of the people remain susceptible to it which means that the need for following the same guidelines to prevent contracting the virus is still needed by every person.

This also goes for people living in countries that have reduced the number of new coronavirus cases and deaths, such as Australia as the cases are expected to spike as soon as people stop following guidelines, which is also what has happened recently in the US state, Arizona where the number of cases has increased once again only three weeks of lifting the lockdown.

According to the World Health Organization, the coronavirus pandemic can take up to a year to be controlled, and that too is only possible if a new coronavirus vaccine has been developed by that time. At the moment, various clinical trials are testing vaccines for coronavirus infection.

Major pharma labels and companies have joined hands in order to make a treatment or vaccine for coronavirus and medical communities all over the world are engaged in trials on an existent drug to possibly re-purpose a suitable medicine that can help relieve coronavirus symptoms.

However, according to the head of the Biosecurity Program at the Kirby Institute at the University of New South Wales, Professor Raina MacIntyre, there is a possibility that a coronavirus vaccine may never be developed at all since there has been no successful vaccine for the treatment of any coronavirus-related infections before too.

Prior to the coronavirus pandemic, there have already been two other epidemics caused by other coronaviruses known as Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) which spread in 2012 and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome – 1, or SARS, which was diagnosed in 2003.

To this day, there have been no antiviral medicines or vaccinations developed for both of the infections. In fact, a vaccine for even the common flu that has been successful for all has not been developed.

Professor MacIntyre states since many of the companies and research groups are aiming to develop a vaccine, it will be gradually developed but just like vaccines developed for flu, it may not be perfect and may not be effective for everyone, especially given there is a lot of pressure and less time for its development.

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More precisely, it may be the kind of vaccine that needs a booster every season. Nonetheless, the collective effort by the medical community around the world for vaccine development at the moment is something that has never happened before. Therefore, an imperfect coronavirus vaccine should not curb hope for coronavirus control.

On the other hand, Professor MacIntyre also adds that it is unfortunately still true that the world even after a coronavirus vaccine may never be the same as it used to be prior to the start of the coronavirus pandemic since the crisis can impact the future businesses, schools, health care systems, and lifestyles in general, significantly.

There is a possibility that policies such as social distancing may need to be practiced for years even after coronavirus pandemic has been controlled in order to avoid future outbreaks.

According to Professor MacIntyre, such a change would actually bring positive results. Had this been done before, there would have not been a need for rapid clinical trials on drugs and a new coronavirus vaccine as the number of cases could have been controlled only with preventive measures.