Coronavirus is scaring the shit out of everybody. Whether you’re young, old, live in the U.S., or call somewhere abroad home, the impact of the most recent attack on our bodies has people taking the most extreme measures to prepare for what could become an outbreak — and with good reason, because there’s so little known about the virus. Hell, the entire country of Italy is on emergency quarantine.
Researchers are trying to identify how this thing actually spreads, why it’s more impactful on older people than younger people, and, more importantly, how to stop it from spreading like a wildfire. And, while people are locking themselves in their homes to avoid human contact, there’s one thing that everyone should know as they prepare for what’s to come — a coronavirus vaccine is still a long way away, per experts.
That comes from a recent USA Today article, which saw the authors talk to medical researchers about the possible pandemic. With so much still unknown about the disease, it’s time to brace ourselves for a long road ahead, because it doesn’t look like things will get better anytime soon.
A number of companies have announced progress. Some, using genetics-based vaccines, delivered samples to health agencies for evaluation.
However, the approval process for vaccines is much more demanding than for most medicines. Even if the samples pass clinical tests without a hitch, production of a usable coronavirus vaccine will probably take 12 to 18 months.
That’s because “vaccines are given to healthy people as prevention,” says Dr. David Relman, Stanford University professor of microbiology and immunology and senior fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies. “You don’t want to make healthy people sick.”
Researchers say RNA-based vaccines can be developed more quickly, treat a wider range of diseases and could be much easier to manufacture than conventional vaccines.
“RNA vaccines are great if a vaccine has to be built as fast as possible,” says Dr. Ivan Martinez, associate professor at West Virginia University’s Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Cell Biology and WVU’s Cancer Institute. “It’s a technology that could potentially give us a vaccine within a year from now.”
For all those optimistic about the coronavirus fear ending soon — and there’s some suggestion that it could be hypersensitive to warmer temperatures, meaning it could be gone for the summer; before making an even more aggressive return next flu season — the latest news about a coronavirus vaccine being at least 12 months away can’t be encouraging. While more and more people continue to quarantine themselves after testing positive for it, or just to help prevent themselves from getting it, there’s no telling how much longer this will go on.
Remember, just last week, an Australian study studied the potential impact of coronavirus on the global economy, with results showing that a whopping 15 million people could die because of it — and that’s the best-case scenario. This thing is (rightfully) making people smarter about washing their hands and taking better care of themselves, so remember to wash your hands as much as possible and avoid big crowds as precaution, because a vaccine doesn’t seem like it’s coming anytime soon.