New York (The Verge) — Unproven strategies lead the race for a COVID-19 vaccine trib.al/sEmGRdC.
Vaccine developers have four major strategies in their efforts to make a coronavirus vaccine: gene-based, adenovirus vectors, inactivated, and protein subunit. All have pros and cons, both around how they provide protection from a virus and how they’re manufactured.
Nearly everything about the COVID-19 pandemic is breaking the charts, and if there was ever a time for pharmaceutical companies to deliver on their promises, it’d be now. Some vaccine development records have already been shattered: it only took 65 days from the time the coronavirus genome was posted online for the pharmaceutical company Moderna to inject the first clinical trial volunteer with an experimental vaccine. Now, more than 100 groups all over the world say they’re working on a coronavirus vaccine.
There are countless points in the vaccine development process where candidates could stall, fail, or fade away. One vaccine that looks safe in a small group of people might show side effects when it’s tested in a larger study. Another could only protect half of the people who get it from COVID-19 or offer a small amount of protection, but not enough to make a difference in the pandemic. A vaccine could work well enough, but be hard to manufacture quickly and in large quantities.
While there are scores of vaccine candidates in development, there are only a few ways for companies to make a vaccine. Each strategy has its own set of advantages or disadvantages, and keeping those in mind is one way to evaluate any bits of exciting — or discouraging — vaccine news. — Nicole Wetsman/@verge