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When Will We Have the Cure and Vaccine for COVID-19?

When Will We Have the Cure and Vaccine for COVID-19?

As we wait for a cure and vaccine for COVID-19 to be developed, lockdown measures and economic restrictions will continue to apply. This “new normal,” which includes travel bans, temperature checks, physical distancing, and online learning, will stay to safeguard our health. With millions of people affected and thousands of deaths recorded, finding the cure and vaccine for COVID-19 has now become a race against time.

How long is the projected time to find the cure and vaccine for COVID-19?

The cure and vaccine for COVID-19 have been reported to be ready as early as September of this year However, experts cannot give a definite timeline. This is because it takes time, trials, and continuous financial support to develop them. So far, we have the following developments:

What are the worldwide developments in finding the cure and vaccine for COVID-19?

Vaccines

To end the pandemic, the population must be given immunity against the COVID-19. However, that is only possible if an effective vaccine can be developed.

A vaccine contains an agent from the disease-causing organism (pathogen). It is often prepared from the weakened or dead bacteria or virus. When a person receives the vaccine, their body will recognize the pathogen and produce antibodies against it. This allows the person to build immunity.

While a lot of people think that a vaccine will be ready by the end of 2020, others think that it may take longer. This is because vaccines need to undergo several phases of trials before they can be deemed safe for use.

According to the Global Alliance for Vaccine and Immunisation (GAVI), should a candidate vaccine make it past the pre-clinical trial, it still has to undergo the 3-phase human trial. Phase 1 tests for safety and dosage of the candidate vaccine. Phase 2 needs more tests are done to check the effectiveness and safety of the candidate vaccine. Lastly, Phase 3 assesses the effectiveness of the vaccine and determines its possible side effects.

Cure and vaccine for COVID: Candidate Vaccines

As of now, there are several vaccine candidates in Phase 3 clinical trial.

For instance, there’s CanSino Biologics Inc.’s Ad5-nCoV. According to reports, Ad5-nCoV is generally safe. People who have received this candidate vaccine effectively developed immunity in the early tests.

Then, there’s the Wuhan Institute of Biological Products’ Inactivated Vaccine. In Phase 1 of the clinical trial, 96 people from different age groups participated. The trial commenced on April 23 of this year.

Moderna’s mRNA 1273 candidate vaccine also showed great results in its Phase 1 and 2 Trial, so it’s not surprising that it’s also in its 3rd Phase now.

Finally, these other vaccine candidates also made it to Phase 3:

  • AZD1222 from AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford
  • Sinovac’s CoronaVac Inactivated Vaccine
  • Novavax’ NVX-CoV2373

Johnson&Johnson’s JNJ-78436735 made it to Phase 3, too. However, the company announced on October 12, 2020 that they had to pause the trial because of an “unexplained illness in a study participant.” As of now, they still do not know if the unexplained illness is connected to the vaccine candidate, but there is an ongoing review and evaluation.

Cure and vaccine for COVID: The SOLIDARITY trial

It is important to note that most viral illnesses resolve on its own in time. The same is true for COVID-19, especially for mild to moderate cases. Treatment and medications aim to prevent progression to severe disease as well as addressing the immune response that the body has in fighting the virus.

The World Health Organization initiated efforts to conduct the SOLIDARITY trial, in partnership with several countries and healthcare practitioners in the world, including the Philippines. The trial aims to provide evidence for treatment modalities for COVID-19. The trial is still on going.

Since COVID-19 is a new disease, recommendations and evidence are dynamic.

Cure

As for the medications to treat COVID-19, we have several in the works, the first being Remdesivir. The US Food and Drug Administration cleared the drug for emergency administration. This allowed hospitals in the United States to give Remdesivir to patients. Research showed that patients with COVID-19 who require oxygen support who received Remdesivir recovered faster than those who received placebo drugs.

In the Philippines, hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine were used during the early months of the pandemic. However, current studies state that they do not greatly improve outcomes, and use should be with great caution as it can have side effects involving the heart and may even lead to death if not properly monitored.

Favipiravir by FujiFilm Holdings Corp. in Japan is another promising drug. Currently sold as Avigan, the medication helps clear the virus one week earlier than the anti-HIV drug created by AbbVie Inc, as shown in initial studies. Additionally, reports say that Avigan helps improve the chest symptoms experienced due to COVID-19.

Finally, there is also convalescent plasma. Plasma is the liquid component of the blood where antibodies can be found. Medical experts believe that by taking plasma from recovered patients (whose blood contains antibodies against COVID-19) and transfusing it into the blood of those afflicted can help patients recover faster.

Local guidelines

The local guidelines made by expert societies for COVID-19 in the Philippines, pending the results of the ongoing WHO Solidarity Trial recommend the following:

  • Remdesivir may be considered in the setting of a clinical trial for hospitalized adult patients with severe COVID-19 or for compassionate use.
  • Chloroquine (CQ) or hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) is not recommended for hospitalized patients with COVID19 pneumonia.
  • There is still insufficient evidence to recommend routine use of favipiravir and Convalescent plasma (for critically ill cases) except in the context of a clinical trial or for compassionate use. Recommendations will be updated once more evidence is available.

What are the developments in finding the cure and vaccine for COVID-19 in the Philippines?

The Philippines has taken the steps to break the chain of infection, as well as to find the cure and vaccine for COVID-19.

The Department of Health continually asks for recovered patients to donate their plasma to help other patients fight the infection. The government has also allocated at least P18 million for the clinical trials of Avigan, one of the potential treatments for the coronavirus disease. Lastly, the Philippines joined the World Health Organization’s Solidarity Trial to find and test possible treatments for the coronavirus disease. More than 100 countries have joined the trial with over 1,000 participants.

Key takeaway

The cure and vaccine for COVID-19 may or may not be available within the year. For this reason, it is very important to strictly follow the guidelines set by the WHO. The public is encouraged to continue practicing regular handwashing and physical distancing. In addition, strengthen your immune system.

Learn more about COVID-19 here.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Sources

Are We Any Closer To A COVID-19 Vaccine? https://theaseanpost.com/article/are-we-any-closer-covid-19-vaccine Accessed 02 June 2020

THE LATEST IN THE COVID-19 VACCINE RACE https://www.gavi.org/vaccineswork/covid-19-vaccine-race  Accessed 02 June 2020

AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine enters phase 2/3 clinical trial https://www.fiercebiotech.com/biotech/astrazeneca-s-covid-19-vaccine-enters-phase-2-3-clinical-trial Accessed 02 June 2020

DOH allots P18-M for trials of flu drug Avigan as COVID-19 treatment https://news.mb.com.ph/2020/05/18/doh-allots-p18-m-for-trials-of-flu-drug-avigan-as-covid-19-treatment/ Accessed 02 June 2020

Drugmaker Jumps Into Coronavirus Vaccine Race https://www.bloomberg.com/features/2020-coronavirus-drug-vaccine-status/#antivirals Accessed 02 June 2020

What If Moderna’s COVID-19 Vaccine Fails? https://www.forbes.com/sites/greatspeculations/2020/05/21/what-if-modernas-covid-19-vaccine-fails/#3addbd00156c Accessed 02 June 2020

PH Solidarity trial for COVID-19 treatments receives green light from ethics review body https://www.who.int/philippines/news/detail/22-04-2020-ph-solidarity-trial-for-covid-19-treatments-receives-green-light-from-ethics-review-body Accessed 02 June 2020

Johnson & Johnson Temporarily Pauses All Dosing in Our Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine Candidate Clinical Trials
https://www.jnj.com/our-company/johnson-johnson-temporarily-pauses-all-dosing-in-our-janssen-covid-19-vaccine-candidate-clinical-trials, Accessed October 13, 2020

COVID-19 vaccine tracker
https://www.raps.org/news-and-articles/news-articles/2020/3/covid-19-vaccine-tracker, Accessed October 13, 2020

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Written by Lorraine Bunag, R.N. Updated 4 weeks ago
Medically reviewed by Erika Joanna Villanueva Caperonce, M.D.
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