Coronavirus: Who will get the vaccine first?

Image copyright
Getty Images

If or when scientists succeed in making a vaccine for the coronavirus virus, there will not be enough to roam there.

Research labs and pharmaceutical companies are rewriting the manual at the time it takes to develop, test, and manufacture an effective vaccine.

Unprecedented steps are being taken to ensure the roll-out of the vaccine is global. But there is a concern that one of the richest countries will race to win at the expense of the weakest countries.

So who will get it first, how much will it cost and in the global crisis, how will we ensure that no one is left behind?

Vaccines to fight infectious diseases usually take years to develop, test and deliver. Nevertheless, their success is not guaranteed.

To date, only one human infectious disease has been completely eradicated – smallpox – and it took 200 years.

The rest – from polio to tetanus, measles, mumps and TB – we live with, or without, thanks to vaccination.

How can we expect a coronovirus vaccine soon?

Image copyright

Trials involving thousands of people are already underway to determine which vaccine Kovid-19 can protect against the respiratory disease caused by the coronary virus.

A process that typically takes five to 10 years from research to delivery is scrapped for months. Meanwhile, manufacturing is being ramped up – with investors and manufacturers risking billions of dollars to get ready to produce an effective vaccine.

Russia says its Sputnik-V vaccine tests indicate an immune response in patients and mass vaccination will begin in October. China says it has developed a successful vaccine that is being made available to its military personnel. But concerns have increased about the speed at which both vaccines have been produced.

Nor are they on the World Health Organization’s list of vaccines that have reached phase three clinical trials – the stage that includes more extensive testing in humans.

Some of these key candidates are expected to have their vaccines approved by the end of the year – although the WHO has said it does not expect to see widespread vaccination against Kovid-19 by mid-2021.

British drugmaker AstraZeneca, which has a vaccine license from Oxford University, is expanding its global manufacturing capacity and has agreed to supply 100 million doses to the UK alone and possibly two billion globally – proving to be successful needed.

Pfizer and BioNotech, which say they have invested more than $ 1 billion in their Kovid-19 program developing the mRNA vaccine, are expected to prepare for some form of regulatory approval by the end of October this year Will be.

If approved, it would mean producing 100 million doses by the end of 2020 and potentially more than 1.3 billion doses by the end of 2021.

There are about 20 other pharmaceutical companies that are undergoing clinical trials.

Not all of them will be successful – typically only about 10% of vaccine trials are successful. Hopefully, global attention, new alliances and general objectives will increase the odds this time.

But even if one of these vaccines is successful, the immediate drawback is obvious.

  • How close are we to developing a vaccine?

Stopping Vaccine Nationalism

Governments are placing their bets to secure potential vaccines, before anything is officially certified or approved, with millions of doses being bargained with a range of candidates.

For example, the UK government has signed deals for undisclosed sums of money for six potential coronavirus vaccines that may or may prove to be successful.

The US is expected to receive 300 million doses by January from its investment program to fast-track a successful vaccine. The US Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has also advised states to prepare for the vaccine roll-out as early as November 1.

But not all countries are in a position to do so.

Organizations such as the Medicines Sans Frontiers, often distributing vaccines on the frontline, say locking in advanced deals with pharmaceutical companies creates “an alarming trend of vaccine nationalism by wealthy countries”.

This in turn reduces the global shares available to the vulnerable in poor countries.

For example, in the past, the price of life-saving vaccines has struggled to completely free children from diseases such as meningitis.

WHO’s Assistant Director General, Dr. Maryangela Simo, who is responsible for access to medicines and health products, says that we need to ensure that vaccines are a test of nationalism.

“The challenge will be to ensure equal access – that all countries have access, not just those who can pay more.”

Is there a global vaccine task force?

The WHO is working with the Epidemic Response Group, Sephy, and the Vaccine Alliance of Governments and Organizations, known as Gavi, to level the playing field.

At least 80 wealthy countries and economies have, so far, known as the global vaccine scheme Kovacs, which aims to provide $ 2bn (£ 1.52bn) to help buy and distribute the drug worldwide by the end of 2020. To raise The US, which wants to leave WHO, is not one of them.

By pooling resources at Kovacs, participants are expected to guarantee 92 low-income countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America, also providing “rapid, fair and equitable access” to Kovid-19 vaccines.

The facility is helping to fund a range of vaccine research and development operations, and is supporting manufacturers in increasing production where needed.

Following an extensive portfolio of vaccine trials signed up for their program, they are hoping to have at least one successful to deliver two billion doses of safe, effective vaccines by the end of 2021.

“With the KVID-19 vaccine we want things to be different,” says Gavey CEO Dr. Seth Berkeley. “If only the wealthiest countries of the world are protected, international trade, commerce and society as a whole will have to work harder as the epidemic continues around the world.”

How much will it cost?

While billions of dollars are being invested in the development of the vaccine, it is being resolved to buy and supply millions more vaccines.

Prices per dose depend on the type of vaccine, the manufacturer, and the number of doses ordered. Pharmaceutical company Modern, for example, is reportedly selling access to its potential vaccine for between $ 32 and $ 37 (dose 24 to £ 28).

AstraZeneca, on the other hand, has stated that it will supply its vaccines “at a cost” – or a few dollars per dose – during the epidemic.

Serum Institute of India (SSI), India’s largest vaccine manufacturer, is being supported by Gavi and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for $ 150 million, creating and delivering 100 million doses of the successful Kovid-19 vaccine for India. to do. And low- and middle-income countries. They say the ceiling price will be $ 3 (£ 2.28) a dose.

But in most cases, patients receiving the vaccine are unlikely to be charged.

In the UK, mass distribution will take place through the NHS Health Service. Student doctors and nurses, dentists and nerves can be trained to return existing NHS staff to operate Jab en Masse. Consultation is currently underway.

Other countries such as Australia have said that they will give free doses to their population.

People receiving vaccines through humanitarian organizations – a key cog in the global distribution wheel – will not be charged.

In the US, while the shot may be free, health professionals may charge to administer professional jaws – leaving unlicensed Americans possibly facing an empty bill.

So who gets first?

Although pharmaceutical companies may be making vaccines, they will not be the ones who decide who gets vaccinated first.

Image copyright

“Each organization or country must determine who it vaccinates first and how it does it,” Sir Mayne Pangloss – the executive vice president of AstraZeneca told the BBC.

As early supply will be limited, reducing deaths and protecting health care systems will be given priority.

The Gavi plan is that countries signed to high or low-income Kovacs will receive enough doses for 3% of their population – enough to cover health and social care workers.

As more vaccines are produced, the allocation is extended to cover 20% of the population – this time over 65 and a preference for other vulnerable groups.

After everyone receives 20%, the vaccine will be distributed according to other criteria, such as country vulnerability and the immediate threat of Kovid-19.

Countries have until September 18 to schedule and by October 9 to make their advance payments. Negotiations are still ongoing for several other elements of the allocation process.

“The only certainty is that there won’t be enough – the rest is still up in the air,” Dr. Simao says.

Gavi stressed that wealthy participants may request adequate doses for vaccination between 10–50% of their population, but no country will receive adequate doses for immunization beyond 20%, unless the group has Not all countries are given this amount.

Dr. Berkeley states that a small buffer of about 5% of the total number of doses available will be set aside, “to help with acute outbreaks and to build a repository to support humanitarian organizations, For example to vaccinate refugees who might not otherwise be used ”.

How do you deliver a global vaccine?

Image copyright
Merkel Redondo / MSF

A lot depends on which vaccine is successful.

The ideal vaccine has a lot to live up to. It needs to be affordable. It needs to produce strong, long-lasting immunity. It requires a simple refrigerated delivery system and manufacturers must be able to accelerate production.

WHO, UNICEF and Medicine Sense Frontiers (MFS / Doctors Without Borders), already have effective vaccination programs worldwide with so-called “cold chain” features – cooler trucks and solar fridges to keep vaccines at the right temperature. Field trip to the factory.

  • World Vaccine Distribution ‘8,000 Jumbo Jet Will Need’

But adding a new vaccine to the mix can cause enormous logistical problems for people already experiencing difficult environments.

Vaccines usually need to be refrigerated – usually between 2C and 8C.

This is not too much of a challenge in most developed countries, but can be a “huge task”, where infrastructure is weak and power supply and refrigeration are unstable.

Barbara Sitta, MSF’s medical adviser, told the BBC, “Maintaining vaccines under the cold chain is already one of the biggest challenges. This will coincide with the introduction of a new vaccine.”

“You’ll need to add more cold chain equipment, make sure you always have fuel (to run freezers and refrigerators in the absence of electricity) and repair / replace them when they break down and transport them wherever you need them. . “

AstraZeneca suggested that their vaccines would require regular cold chains between 2C and 8C.

But it seems that some candidates will need an ultra-cold chain – Storage-60C or Coldrr ​​before the vaccine is diluted and distributed.

Barbara Sitta said, “To keep the Ebola vaccine at -60 ° C or colder, we had to use a special cold chain tool to store and store them, plus we had to train staff.”

There is also the question of target population. Vaccination programs usually target children, so agencies must plan how to reach those who are not normally part of the immunization program.

As the world awaits scientists to do their work, many more challenges await. And vaccines are not the only weapon against coronovirus.

WHO’s Drs. “Vaccines are not the only solution,” says Simao. “You need to make a diagnosis. You have a method to reduce mortality, so you need medical science, and you need a vaccine.

“Besides, you need everything else – social disturbances, avoiding crowded places, etc.”

What do I need to know about Coronavirus?