By Austin Lin
After close to a year since the emergence of COVID-19, where does the development of a vaccine stand? As of mid-October, many scientists warn of the climb towards a third peak during this 9-month pandemic. The increased transmissions are reflected in the number of hospitalizations, new cases, and test positivity; indicating the high levels of infections.
China has made strides to find an effective vaccine, taking five technical routes to ensure higher rates of success. These five include; inactivated vaccines, adenoviral vector-based vaccines, live attenuated influenza vaccines, DNA vaccines, and mRNA vaccines. Thus far, four of the five have entered clinical trials, three inactivated and one recombinant vaccine. More recently, China’s state-run pharmaceutical group, Sinopharm, has developed two experimental vaccines for Chinese students going abroad.
Meanwhile, in the United States, Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine trial has been put on pause after unexplained complications in a volunteer. Phase three of the clinical trial has been halted due to these unidentified illnesses. However, Johnson & Johnson’s trials are only a fourth of trials in the United States; so there’s still hope in the near future.
Only time will tell when the new vaccine will be developed. After the election? Next year? Nevertheless, even after the development and implementation of the vaccine is done, the distribution and manufacturing of the vaccine will still be a persistent issue. Thus, we can only hold on to the seemingly unrealistic hope that is a world without COVID-19.