Companies continue to work toward developing COVID-19 vaccine

Several pharmaceutical companies are diligently working to develop a vaccine for COVID-19.

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Several pharmaceutical companies are diligently working to develop a vaccine for COVID-19.

John McQuaid '22, Opinion Editor

The COVID-19 pandemic has been raging for over nine months now, and virologists and epidemiologists say that we may have to wait a while longer before it ends. We know that the development of a vaccine will speed up the end of this pandemic, but we also know that the vaccine will not be here for a long time.

The current estimates for when a vaccine will complete testing is highly uncertain, as the expected timeframe continually changes. Most vaccines take around 10 years to fully develop and deemed safe, but COVID is different. Right now, there are eleven vaccines in phase 3 testing, the final phase of testing, according to the New York Times. 

Basically, instead of individual labs plodding along collecting data piece by piece, we turned the world-wide scientific community into a networked supercomputer. Such an effort has never happened before in the history of our species, and hopefully, all of humanity will be better for it.”

— Colleen O’Rourke, the Science Department Chair

 

 

Scientists were able to create this networked supercomputer after the virus’s genetic sequence was made public and different groups began sharing information. With everyone working so closely together, groups like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have estimated that a vaccine may be ready as soon as Spring of 2021, though delays are also expected.

While this may seem like a fast development cycle, it could be several years before the vaccine can be distributed to the public, due to the current situation surrounding the post office,  anti-vaccine sentiments, and pharmaceutical companies possibly trying to profit off the vaccine.

Knowing that, it is also unknown how long schools will continue to practice distance or hybrid learning, which in turn means that transfer students and freshmen could spend most or all of their time in this situation. In addition, this year’s seniors and juniors might spend their early college years learning virtually. 

Obviously, this is a fairly pessimistic view. Should the vaccine be ready and safe earlier than expected, it could begin distribution sooner. Also, distribution could be quick regardless of the current situation and if the pharmaceutical companies reign themselves in, it is entirely possible for the vaccine to be accessible by all.