jueves, 30 de julio de 2020

Vaccines are supposed to take years. How did we get so far in six months?

The Readout
Damian Garde & Meghana Keshavan

Vaccines are supposed to take years. How did we get so far in six months?

We don’t have an effective vaccine for the novel coronavirus, and the projects in development, however promising, may yet prove to be useless. But the speed with which science has gone from complete Covid-19 ignorance to multiple vaccines in Phase 3 testing is both unprecedented and a contrast to the sober warnings experts offered just six months ago.

So, how did we get here so fast?

As STAT’s Andrew Joseph reports, the answer is a combination of global collaboration, scientific serendipity, and a great deal of money. From the outset, researchers were fortunate that Covid-19 is a coronavirus, meaning they could leverage decades of knowledge about similar viruses, including SARS, to jump-start vaccine development. Then there’s the fact that drug companies, mostly with the backing of federal dollars, were willing to manufacture doses at risk before knowing whether their vaccines would work, helping to compress a normally iterative process.

“The fact that industry is able to hedge their bets like this and to make these investments is because the government has put up the money,” said James Le Duc, the director of the University of Texas Medical Branch’s Galveston National Laboratory. “The government has recognized that this is an incredibly important issue and we need to be going full blast knowing full well that not all these vaccines will work.”

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