World urged to prepare for better, effective COVID-19 vaccines

A woman is holding a vial labeled “Coronavirus COVID-19 Vaccine” and a medical syringe in this illustration. — Reuters/File

According to World Health Organization (WHO) data, COVID-19 had infected more than 7 billion people around the world. It started in China in September 2019 and gradually swept the world.

It was so contagious that it was a matter of months after the world witnessed a full lockdown in the middle of 2020. People stayed home for weeks and the world came to a complete standstill. It was the worst global health crisis the world has ever seen.

As it is said SARS-COV-2 has jumped from bats to humans, it is likely that other hundreds of viruses – already living in animals – could be retransmitted and prove much more contagious and deadly than this one.

Scientists expressed concern about a future crisis of such nature and called on the world to develop a more effective vaccine that could protect against all coronaviruses, in an interview published in USA today.

Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota believed that such vaccine prevent the virus from spreading on a large scale.

Need for new vaccines

Scientists have underlined that while vaccine development has been a remarkable job, despite their effectiveness, they have their limits.

Dr. Bruce Gellin, chief of global public health strategy for the Rockefeller Foundation’s Pandemic Prevention Institute, stressed, “more prepared for future viruses as they emerge.”

The Rockefeller group, the Gates Foundation and Michael Osterholm’s center work together and had previously developed roadmaps for the prevention of diseases and outbreaks such as Ebola, Zika and flu.

Dr. Gellin said these three organizations can lead by example and encourage others to contribute to the development of such modern and effective vaccines. “It’s all a matter of time,” he noted.

Since a vaccine is developed sooner after a possible outbreak, it would shorten the time of virus spreading from person to person, as the vaccination process would start immediately.

In addition, scientists have prepared a roadmap to carry out such a plan with five main goals.

  • Understand the virus in nature and develop a vaccine accordingly.
  • Vaccines that can be safe and sustainable against all coronaviruses.
  • The need to study immune responses to vaccines to accelerate the vaccine development process.
  • Test vaccines on animals to measure effectiveness.
  • Provide support and sufficient financial support.

According to the strategic roadmap, the group plans to establish a broad virus detection program by 2024 to rapidly detect and take action against the virus.

How to do the vaccination

The scientists’ plan underlines possible visions for increasing vaccine effectiveness.

Initially, people should be vaccinated in childhood or adulthood, which boosts their immunity to coronaviruses and their variants, they suggested.

Second, these vaccines must be built up as a strategic reserve. If a coronavirus does spread, states must have enough supplies to handle the initial spread so that it can be contained at an early stage.

Third can be a combination of both: routine vaccination and sufficient reserves to cope with an emergency.

The vaccines, it was stressed, should not cost much, as low-income countries would not be able to afford the supplies or development of the vaccines, they stressed.

What lies in the future?

People have been getting through COVID-19 with extreme difficulty for nearly two years, and no one would want to be in the situation they were during the pandemic.

Dr. Gellin said the roadmap takes shape when there is less will and fewer resources to meet the challenge compared to pandemic time.

The proposed map highlighted the action plan, but it makes no suggestion as to who would be in charge of overseeing such activities and who would oversee the operation, Osterholm said.

“But at least it can help government, philanthropists and researchers understand what is happening and what needs to be done next,” he said adding that “Everyone has a completely transparent view of what needs to be done and what is being done – whether what doesn’t happen.” finished.”

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