Medical professionals don’t expect COVID-19 vaccine to come before election
"We have a number of vaccine candidates that we are excited about being able to review the data on.”
When will we see a coronavirus vaccine? Medical professionals say that while a finish line is in sight, a vaccine is not likely to come this calendar year.
“We will not have vaccines available by the election date,” says Dr. Glen Hansen, who is an Associate Professor of Pathology, Lab Medicine and Infectious Diseases at the University of Minnesota.
There are four vaccine candidates that are at the late stage of development. These vaccines are tested using double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trials. This means that one volunteer test subjects is given the vaccine, another is given a placebo, but neither know who received the actual vaccine. The target goal is for any vaccine to be 50% more effective than a placebo in preventing or decreasing the severity of the virus.
Hansen expects to see vaccine development continue past November and possibly into the first quarter of 2021. One reason for this is because the U.S. government recently extended the monitoring window for the vaccine. Three of the four vaccine candidates require multiple doses. Extending the monitoring window enables the evaluation of patients who have received secondary and tertiary doses of the vaccine while upholding scientific and safety guidelines.
“We are developing these vaccines at record pace,” Hansen said. “All of this should, quite frankly, be taken as good news and we have a number of vaccine candidates that we are excited about being able to review the data on.”
Antibody testing has been key to the development of a vaccine. Antibody tests help gauge vaccine effectiveness, help people know if they’ve been exposed to the virus, and provide important information about how the virus as moved through communities. Dr. Deepak Nath, the President of Laboratory Diagnostics at Siements Healthineers says that the country has made great strides as it pertains to mass-producing antibody tests.
“We have come a long way from the early days of the pandemic,” Nath said. “We now have highly accurate, highly reliable antibody tests that can be produced at a large enough scale for population level testing.”