COVID-19 VACCINE UPDATE

Vaccines take around 2-5 years to develop, according to the history of vaccines. However, with advanced technology and research on outbreaks from the past like SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) and MERS (middle eastern respiratory syndrome), scientists were able to develop a promising vaccine for the coronavirus disease in a short time.

Source: medicalnewstoday.com

The vaccine for the Coronavirus disease has been created and is expected to be ready by 2021, as reported by public health officials. According to Global News, Premier Doug Ford has said that the vaccine is expected to be available to Ontario near the beginning of next year. Ontario health minister Christine Elliott says that the vaccine will not be mandatory for individuals in Ontario. She adds “There may be some restrictions placed on people that don’t have the vaccines for travel purposes, to be able to go to theatres and other places”.

Furthermore, Canada has announced that it has signed agreements with several teams of vaccine developers to secure millions of doses for Canadians. Pfizer, an American pharmaceutical company in partnership with BioNTech, a company in Germany, and Moderna, an American biotechnology company are two vaccine candidates that Canada will receive. Both of their COVID-19 vaccine trials have released promising and effective results according to both companies’ reports.

Prime minister Justin Trudeau says that by the end of the year, 249,000 doses will have arrived in Canada. Adding on, Canada has reserved a total of 20 million doses of the Moderna vaccine and 72 million doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine. In total, up to 358 million doses have been secured in Canada from a range of vaccine manufacturers.

Picture of the COVID 19 virus captured with a transmission electron microscope. The spikes surrounding the virus gives it the name “corona” virus, which means crown.
Source:sciencealert.com

Medical Xpress explains how vaccine candidates are tested in different stages of trials. Clinical trials for vaccines are conducted in “phases”, and each stage has a different purpose that builds on the results of the previous stage and has a greater testing population of volunteers. Once the vaccine candidate passes the pre-clinical stage, it goes through four different phases before it becomes official to the public. Both vaccines are currently in stage three. Pfizer announced its vaccine as 95% effective while Moderna announced its vaccine as 94.5% effective against Covid 19.

Moving forward, Molecular biologist, Dr. Ali Nouri, president of the Federation of American Scientists gives a basic explanation of how vaccine manufacturers, such as Pfizer and Moderna work. It focuses on a vaccine technology that is based on a genetic material, called messenger RNA. SARS-CoV2 or coronavirus is covered in “spike proteins” that grab human cells with it, Dr. Nouri says. He continues by saying that the mRNA comprises a formulation of “fatty materials” that aid in entering our cells. It then translates into spike protein that triggers the immune system to produce antibodies and activates other immune pathways, to protect the body against infection and help “clear the virus”. He adds on by saying the mRNA-based vaccines do not have the virus, but the “spike portion”, therefore having no risk of infection.

According to health experts and government agencies, vulnerable individuals such as seniors, health- care workers, retirement homes, adults in indigenous communities, individuals who are at severe risk of illnesses and have the virus, will be first in line to receive the doses of the vaccine.

After a rough year of covid, there is still some optimism for the vaccine to be ready by early 2021. The development of the coronavirus vaccine may make a new record in history for the fastest vaccine produced according to scientific experts. “People are going to have to be patient that their turn will come”, says prime minister Trudeau. 

“People are going to have to be patient that their turn will come”

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

References:

– The Canadian Press. “Canada to Start Receiving COVID-19 Vaccines in January, Ontario Health Minister Says.” Nationalpost, National Post, 19 Nov. 2020, nationalpost.com/news/canada/canada-to-begin-receiving-covid-19-vaccines-in-january-ontario-health-minister-says. 

– Chung, Emily. “When a COVID-19 Vaccine Arrives, Which Canadians Will Get It First? | CBC News.” CBCnews, CBC/Radio Canada, 1 Aug. 2020, www.cbc.ca/news/technology/covid-vaccine-priority-canada-1.5669216. 

– Griffin, Paul. “Explaining Vaccine Clinical Trial Phases.” Medical Xpress – Medical Research Advances and Health News, Medical Xpress, 27 Aug. 2020, medicalxpress.com/news/2020-08-vaccine-clinical-trial-phases.html. 

– Davis, Nicola. “Pfizer Covid Vaccine: What Has the Trial Found and Is This a Breakthrough?” The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 10 Nov. 2020, www.theguardian.com/world/2020/nov/09/what-has-pfizers-covid-vaccine-trial-found-and-is-this-a-breakthrough. 

– Sharma, Manoj. “How Exactly Do Moderna, Pfizer’s COVID-19 Vaccines Work? Top Doctor Explains.” Business Today, 17 Nov. 2020, www.businesstoday.in/coronavirus/exactly-moderna-pfizer-covid-19-vaccines-work-top-doctor-explains/story/422200.html.


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Hello! my name is Sakina. I love to read and write about almost anything. My favourite subjects are science and french. My hobbies are baking, playing badminton and reading!


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