Umar Bin Abdul Aziz
Globally, as of 22 November 2020, there are 57,882,183 confirmed cases of COVID-19, including 1,377,395 deaths, reported to WHO.Vaccine research is at the forefront of everyone’s minds as we collectively await a breakthrough in the fight against coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). On average, a vaccine takes between (12-36) months to (10-20) years for its manufacturing before it is ready for distribution. Today, researchers are working at unprecedented speed to cut this timeline down to within 12 and 18 months. Is this fast-track approach safe? Can we count on the efficacy of a vaccine that is developed this quickly?We don’t know the answers to these questions yet. Even WHO says ‘There are many strict protections in place to help ensure that COVID-19 vaccines will be safe? Like all vaccines, COVID-19 vaccines should go through a rigorous, multi-stage testing process, including large (phase III) trials that involve tens of thousands of people.’Successful manufacturing of high-quality vaccines requires international standardisation of starting materials, production and quality control testing, and the setting of high expectations for regulatory oversight of the entire manufacturing process from start to finish, all while recognising that this field is in constant change.Many potential vaccines for COVID-19 are being studied, and several large clinical trials may report results later this year. If a vaccine is proven safe and effective, it must be approved by national regulators, manufactured to exacting standards, and distributed.Keeping all these points in mind let’s take a step back and review the vaccine development process from beginning to end.
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