With so much research happening around the world to come up with a cure for a vaccine for the coronavirus, it’s important to understand how that research happens. Below we’ve explained the different phases of COVID-19 vaccine development and what each of them means.
The development of a vaccine for the coronavirus begins in pre-clinical trials, where a potential vaccine is tested in animals and in the lab.
Once it passes that test, the vaccine moves on to Phase 1, where a small number of healthy people are given a dose. At this point, scientists are assessing the safety and effectiveness of the vaccine.
In Phase 2, the potential vaccine is tested on hundreds of people, including those who are at a higher risk of illness like the elderly and children. Scientists are looking at the vaccine’s safety and if it can stimulate the immune system.
The final hurdle for a potential vaccine is Phase 3 trials. Thousands of people will receive a dose of the vaccine. Scientists study how many of them become infected, compared with those who received a placebo. This final phase should also show evidence of any vaccine injuries that may be missed by other studies. The FDA is requiring the vaccine will have to protect at least 50% of those vaccinated, although it is hoped it will be more effective than that.
Once the vaccine is distributed, scientists will continue to monitor its effectiveness and safety. However, medical experts say a vaccine could take up to a year before the entire US population has access to one. Even more troubling, recent polls show that a majority of Americans may not feel it’s safe to get the vaccine right away.
Source: The New York Times