A vaccine is a biological substance produced from living organisms that enhance immunity, especially against the infectious disease.
The vaccine stimulates the immune system to produce antibodies against harmful agents such as viruses, bacteria, and other micro-organisms.
A British physician, Edward Jenner created the word “vaccine”. The word vaccine is derived from the Latin word “vacca” which means cow.
In the west, Edward Jenner is known as the father of vaccinology. In, 1796, he vaccinated a 13-year-old boy with a vaccine virus that proved effective against smallpox. Thus, the first vaccine was developed in 1796 by Edward Jenner.
QUICK DEVELOPMENT OF COVID-19 VACCINE
With the approval of the vaccine, Medical News Today spoke to medical experts about how coronavirus vaccines were developed so quickly without compromising safety.
Last month, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved emergency use for the COVID-19 vaccine developed by Pfizer Biotech.
The United States is the latest country to join Canada and the United Kingdom in approving a COVID-19 vaccine. Making a vaccine in less than a year is no small matter.
HOW LONG DOES IT USUALLY TAKE TO DEVELOP A VACCINE FROM SCRATCH?
This is traditionally a slow process. Addressing the Commonwealth and Lord’s National Security Strategy Committee in October, Sir Patrick Wallace said that before covid, it took an average of 10 years to develop a completely new vaccine, even more than the first five years. Not achieved in a short time.
HOW IS IT POSSIBLE TO DEVELOP A VACCINE AGAINST COVID-19 IN LESS THAN A YEAR?
One key consideration is funding, the inclusion of public and private cash in the vaccine race, which alleviates the usual financial concerns faced by pharmaceutical companies.
WHAT’S MORE, DEMAND AND URGENCY ARE HIGH.
Traditionally, vaccines have been developed to weaken or kill a virus or to prepare a portion of the virus in a lab.
However, it takes time. Instead, both Oxford University / AstraZeneca and Pfizer / Biotech vaccines were developed using a variety of “platform technologies” that included testing genetic material from the virus and including it in the trial delivery package.
Once introduced into the human body, this genetic material produces an immune response using the coronavirus “spike protein” through the protein-making machinery in our cells.
This approach was achieved with the help of the speed at which scientists in China identified and shared the genetic sequence of the new coronavirus, which was already underway on other coronaviruses.
But while such platform technologies are an unconventional approach, this does not mean that they are uncompetitive.
“The mRNA vaccine platform technology [which the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine uses] has been in development for over two decades,” at Imperial College London.
The use of platform technologies not only allows a vaccine to be developed faster, and its safety is known from the beginning, but production is faster and cheaper because existing production processes can be used.
Another consideration is that clinical trials are carried out continuously during the development of conventional vaccines, in the case of COVID-19 vaccines that have overlapped, speeding up the process.
“Vaccine manufacturing has also been carried out in parallel with the clinical trials, hoping that trials will succeed,”.
Finally, advances in tech have made data recording smoother, while the advent of social media has made it easier to recruit trial participants.
WHAT ABOUT APPROVAL?
A professor of pharmaceuticals at King’s College London and chairman of the Education and Standards Committee of the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Medicine said it usually takes about 6 to 9 months for new drugs to be approved. But this is partly because the necessary data is often delivered to regulatory agencies at the same time.
In the case of the Covid 19 vaccine, this process has been accelerated in what is called the “rolling review”, about which this information was obtained on a regular basis.
HOW HAS THE UK MANAGED TO GET THE VACCINE APPROVED BEFORE EUROPE AND THE US?
Although there has been much talk about how Brexit helped speed up the approval of Pfizer / biotech vaccines by the MHRA, experts have strained that European Union rules allow member states to allows you to approve medicines for emergency use without the authority of the European Medicines Agency.
However, the Brexit transition period could mean that MHRA currently has some extra capacity.
The MHRA is well-regarded as a world leader in the regulation of medicine, and it has surely chosen to move faster with vaccine approval than the European Medicines Agency EMA. MHRA didn’t have to rely on Brexit to do that.
WORLD WIDE COLLABORATION
Under normal circumstances, making a vaccine can take up to ten to fifteen years because of the complexity of vaccine development.
However, within a global pandemic, time was a bonus the world could not afford. Researchers quickly prepared to share their coronavirus data with other scientists. World wide collaboration & data sharing is the major factor vaccines are developing so quickly.