As many of you are aware, there’s a race going on worldwide to develop a coronavirus vaccine. Before I share my thoughts with you, I want to make clear that I am not a scientist nor a medical professional. I am just a concerned citizen like all of you, hoping to return safely to our pre-pandemic lives as soon as possible.
Status of Vaccine Development
There are currently over 100 vaccines in development globally, giving people a sense of optimism at a time when many feel completely helpless, especially when considering that recent statistics have shown that more than 5 million people have been infected with COVID-19 and over 300,000 people have died.
Pharmaceutical companies and researchers have approached the development of a COVID-19 vaccine through a variety of methods. Some are relying on cutting edge technology using mRNA, others are using more traditional methods to study fragments of coronavirus protein, and one team of researchers is conducting a trial on monkeys to show how a prototype vaccine could protect them from infection.
Phase 1 trials of some of these vaccines have recently produced positive and encouraging results: test subjects developed antibodies similar to those found in people who had recovered from COVID-19. Some scientists consider coronavirus to be a stable pathogen, meaning that it is less likely to have significant mutations and therefore will respond well to a vaccine – however, there have also been studies to suggest otherwise. We are still very much in the research phase of this novel virus.
Possible Good News
However far off we are from understanding COVID-19, there seems to be a feeling of optimism in the air regarding the future of the pandemic. According to a Pew Research study, 73% of adults believe there will be a COVID-19 vaccine within the next 12 months, and 72% of adults say they would get the vaccine if available today.
And while this is certainly optimistic – vaccines typically take years or even decades to develop, so developing a vaccine in such a condensed period is practically unheard of. That is not to say that it is not possible, but rather that we should manage our own expectations to realize that a return to “normal” life won’t be immediate.
One thing I do think is fascinating to see is how the world has mobilized to fight this virus on a united front. Scientists and medical researchers across the globe have joined forces to share information, test theories and work together to develop treatments and find a possible vaccine. That is a reason to be as optimistic as any, especially when you consider the history of pandemics and how past generations have had to simply live with dangerous illnesses as a normal way of life.
While we wait for the world’s brightest minds to develop a reliable treatment or vaccine, we should all do our best to follow guidelines and best practices as recommended by our leaders and experts. Even if we do not fully understand the virus, we should behave responsibly to avoid passing it along to a vulnerable party.
What are your thoughts on a potential COVID-19 vaccine? I’m sure many of you, myself included, want this period of uncertainty and isolation to be over sooner rather than later. I hope sharing some of my thoughts will give you a perspective you might not have considered.
Also, try to remember when talking with friends and family about coronavirus that having different opinions is okay – everyone is trying to do what they feel is necessary to keep themselves and others safe and sane.
~ Michael Gortenburg, CEO and Founding Principal of Eighteen Capital Group (18CG) in Kansas City, Missouri.