American business magnate, software developer, investor, and philanthropist, Mr. Bill Gates has volunteered useful information on when the much expected vaccine required to address the Covid-19 pandemic would be ready.
While addressing the issue in his GatesNotes, with the title: The Vaccine Race, Explained, the Chairman of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation said humankind has never had a more urgent task than creating broad immunity for coronavirus.
According to him, the answer he gives to one of the questions he’s usually asked the most these days about when the world would be able to go back to the way things were in December 2019 before the coronavirus pandemic, is that when a vaccine was developed, an almost perfect drug to treat COVID-19, or when almost every person on the planet has been vaccinated against coronavirus.
Hear him: ‘One of the questions I get asked the most these days is when the world will be able to go back to the way things were in December before the coronavirus pandemic. My answer is always the same: when we have an almost perfect drug to treat COVID-19, or when almost every person on the planet has been vaccinated against coronavirus.
“The former is unlikely to happen anytime soon. We’d need a miracle treatment that was at least 95 percent effective to stop the outbreak. Most of the drug candidates right now are nowhere near that powerful. They could save a lot of lives, but they aren’t enough to get us back to normal. ”
He however noted that humankind had never had a more urgent task than creating broad immunity for coronavirus. Realistically, he added, if the world was going to return to normal, there would be a need to develop a safe, effective vaccine.
“We need to make billions of doses, we need to get them out to every part of the world, and we need all of this to happen as quickly as possible. That sounds daunting, because it is,” he said.
He maintained that his foundation remained the biggest funder of vaccines in the world, and this effort dwarfs anything they have ever worked on before. It’s going to require a global cooperative effort like the world has never seen, he said, adding, “But I know it’ll get done. There’s simply no alternative.”
On when he thinks the vaccine could be ready for use, he assured that the world was creating the vaccine on a historically fast timeline.
“Dr. Anthony Fauci has said he thinks it’ll take around eighteen months to develop a coronavirus vaccine. I agree with him, though it could be as little as 9 months or as long as two years.
“Although eighteen months might sound like a long time, this would be the fastest scientists have created a new vaccine. Development usually takes around five years. Once you pick a disease to target, you have to create the vaccine and test it on animals. Then you begin testing for safety and efficacy in humans.
“Safety and efficacy are the two most important goals for every vaccine. Safety is exactly what it sounds like: is the vaccine safe to give to people? Some minor side effects (like a mild fever or injection site pain) can be acceptable, but you don’t want to inoculate people with something that makes them sick.”
He explained further that efficacy measures how well the vaccine protects people from getting sick; although people would ideally want a vaccine to have 100 percent efficacy.
“To test for safety and efficacy, every vaccine goes through three phases of trials: Phase one is the safety trial. A small group of healthy volunteers gets the vaccine candidate. You try out different dosages to create the strongest immune response at the lowest effective dose without serious side effects.
“Once you’ve settled on a formula, you move onto phase two, which tells you how well the vaccine works in the people who are intended to get it. This time, hundreds of people get the vaccine. This cohort should include people of different ages and health statuses.
“As of April 9, there are 115 different COVID-19 vaccine candidates in the development pipeline. I think that eight to ten of those look particularly promising. Our foundation is going to keep an eye on all the others to see if we missed any that have some positive characteristics, though.
“The most promising candidates take a variety of approaches to protecting the body against COVID-19. To understand what exactly that means, it’s helpful to remember how the human immune system works, ,” he said.