As the virus, now widely known as SARS-CoV-2, started spreading across the entire globe like wildfire, medical researchers were sprinting to catch up on drugs and vaccines. Today, 6 months later, there is no miracle cure and no preventive for the virus-caused disease, COVID-19, and even though there are many flashes of hope. Studies have shown that two medications can help cure the sick: antiviral drug remdesivir shortens healing periods (see https://www.nih.gov/news-events/news-releases/peer-reviewed-data-shows-remdesivir-covid-19-improves-time-recovery) and anabolic steroids called dexamethasone prevents deaths even among people in the hospital with COVID-19 who need support breathing.
“But the end line remains an effective and safe vaccine even in this race. With 180 candidates for a vaccine are now being actually tested in lab dishes, wild animals, and even in the humans, the end may be in clear sight. Some professionals expect that a vaccine will be available to the general public now for emergency medical use by the very end of this year even before it even receives accelerated U.S. Blessing of Drug and Food Administration.”, reports ScienceNews.com.
Velocity can come to the cost of health and effectiveness, alarming some medical experts. And that could stymie attempts to persuade enough people today to get the flu vaccine to develop the requisite herd immunity to eventually end the global pandemic.
“We call for data transparency,” states Esther Krofah, the executive director of the FasterCures, the charity based in Washington, D.C. “All we want is to things to progress meaningfully so that health or research is not compromised, but we have to see the evidence,” she says.
The vaccines are usually made from damaged or destroyed viruses or flu virus fragments. But it would take years to produce large amounts of flu vaccine in this way, as such and vaccines need to be made in individual cells that are often not simple to grow in big quantities.
Getting a relatively early good look again at the genetic makeup of the coronavirus has created another shortcut. This lets scientists manipulate the genetic data of the flu virus quickly to create copies of a key piece of SARS-CoV-2 that will be used as the very basis for vaccines.
That particular piece is known also as a protein spike. It is studying the surface of the deadly virus, forming its halo reach, and simply allowing the virus to try to latch on and then enter human cells. Since the spike protein is mostly on the outside of the deadly virus, detecting antibodies is also a convenient target for them.
Scientists have either copied the SARS-CoV-2 updated version of clear instructions for turning the spike protein into DNA or RNA or synthesized again the protein itself to produce vaccines of multiple types . Once the flu vaccine is actually delivered to the human body, the immune system produces antibodies that recognize the flu virus and blocks it from entering cells, so either preventing infection or even helping people completely avoid serious illness.
In developing vaccines and starting clinical trials, the drugmakers also have set fast records by using this approach to the problem. FasterCures, which is also part of the whole think tank at the Milken Institute, tracks 179 candidates for the vaccine, most of whom are still being properly tested in laboratory dishes and animals. Yet in humans, about 20 may have already begun studying.