When it comes to the Coronavirus, the race for a vaccine is unquestionably on. The good news – such as it is – is that science is progressing faster than anyone could have anticipated. According to published reports, there are currently over 150 possible vaccinations are in some sort of development. As of August 7, 2020, more than 135 were in research, but another 36 are in human trial.
Of those 36, 18 are in Phase One, meaning the earliest phase of research on humans. Another 12 are in Phase Two, and another 6 are in Phase Three, the largest research and last stage before approval is granted. To be sure, we aren’t there yet, but the scientific research seems to be bearing fruit.Read More »
That vaccine comes from Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen Pharmaceutical Company. It is being made under the direction of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, which has authorized spending $1 billion for these vaccines. Furthermore, if the plan is successful, they may purchase an additional $200 million doses.
Given the significant investment that the United States has made in both the drug research and the potential purchase of a drug, it is worth noting that Johnson & Johnson has explicitly said that they will sell the drug at a “non-profit” price. Other sources have noted that the United States has awarded Johnson & Johnson over $450 million to go towards the development of a vaccination. If all goes well, this specific vaccination could be globally available by the end of 2021.
The Johnson & Johnson vaccination one of the few drugs that has made it into human trials. It is currently in a combined Phase 1/Phase 2a research study, and is actively undergoing testing for humans in both the United States and Belgium. As such, there are many unknowns about this vaccine. For example, Johnson & Johnson has specifically said that they are testing versions of the drug in both 1 and 2 doses. Other companies have also noted that a two-dose approach may be preferable.
The simple truth is that getting a vaccine to market, as quickly and safely as possible, is in everyone bests interest. While there is no shortage of debate over the efficacy of the federal government during this time period, it is clear that everyone has recognized the importance of having vaccines that work. President Trump promised recently that the United States would have a vaccination by election day.
There is considerable debate about that. However, Dr. Fauci has said that a vaccination by late fall is within the realm of possibility. Whether or not it will be Ad26.COV2.S is to be determined, but enough vaccines have moved through the process to give Dr. Fauci and others hope that a vaccine will be available for the world in the near future. The wide array of companies that are actively pursuing a vaccine, and reporting success, should give us all hope for the near future that a vaccine will one day be developed.
However, it is important to realize that any vaccine will not be immediately, 100% effective for you or your family right away. Drugs like this are always improved over time, and it will likely take months – if not years – for there to be enough people vaccinated that the population could achieve some level of herd immunity and return to the world we knew before COVID-19.
So, this news by the United States government appears to belie the idea that there should be cautious optimism about the search for some sort of vaccination and to one day get to any semblance of a normal life again.
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