How Close Are We To A Coronavirus Vaccine?

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Jami Van Orden, Jami Van Orden

The detrimental effects of the coronavirus pandemic have been felt all over the world, but a beacon of light has been shown as vaccine trials show positive results. Pharmaceutical company Pfizer and their partner during this clinical trial BioNTech reported that the vaccine was 90 percent successful in preventing the disease in healthy adults who had not previously contracted the coronavirus and didn’t present any serious safety concerns. Pfizer has plans to ask the FDA to approve the two-dose vaccine later this month, and by the end of the year, up to 20 million people may be immunized. If the vaccine is authorized this has the potential to save thousands of lives, and give a sense of closure to families affected by the disease. Despite the early data yielding positive results, scientists warn the effects could be short-term. Along with this vaccine, eleven more are in the works around the world, and several are in late-stage trials. Pfizer’s data that shows 90 percent effectiveness may not stay the same, and it could drop severely in the upcoming stages of the trial, but immunologist Akiko Iwasaki as well as other scientists were stunned by the high number, saying “I wasn’t expecting it to be this high. I was preparing myself for something like 55 percent.” If the percentage stays that high and is released to the public it will have a higher efficacy rate than a flu vaccine. The vaccine could take weeks to months before it is approved by the FDA as they will require detailed data from the trial before it is deemed safe. There will be many more bumps in the road before the end of the pandemic, but we can leave our heads in an optimistic stance and hope vaccine trials continue reporting positive results.