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Coronavirus: Real progress towards vaccine, but it still could be 18 months away

Written by Diane Archer

The New York Times reports that the pharmaceutical company, Moderna, has tested a vaccine for COVID-19 on eight people, and it appears to be safe and effective. To establish that it works, however, Moderna will need to test it on thousands more people. Meanwhile Anthony Fauci, the top infectious disease person in the federal government says that, if things happen quickly, it will still take 12 to 18 months before everyone in the country is vaccinated.

We will need to know a lot more about the Moderna vaccine before it can be made widely available. It could have harmful side effects. It could even make the disease worse. But, early signs suggest that it enabled the eight people who have received the vaccine to develop the same antibodies as are present in people who have had COVID-19.

Even though Dr. Fauci, the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, says it could easily take 18 months before everyone in the US is vaccinated, President Trump is claiming that a vaccine will be available by the end of 2020. His administration will allow pharmaceutical companies to manufacture the vaccine before the FDA has determined it is effective. It is partnering with pharmaceutical companies to find both treatments and vaccines for the novel coronavirus.

Moderna is just beginning its second phase of trials on 600 people. And, it plans to begin its third phase in July on thousands of people. The Moderna vaccine could be approved by the end of the year, but it will be many more months before it is available to everyone. People will need two shots four weeks apart.

One pharmaceutical company alone cannot create and manufacture a vaccine for everyone who needs it. We will need several COVID-19 vaccines to ensure everyone is inoculated. Pfizer and AstraZeneca, among others, are currently working on a vaccine as well. As for the vaccine’s cost, no one has yet established a price for a COVID-19 vaccine; it is the subject of much debate.

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