New treatments, cures, and vaccines for COVID-19 are vital in ensuring this worldwide pandemic is a one-time event. These innovative biologists, scientists, research teams and medical professionals from around the world are helping us win the fight to flatten the curve and to beat the coronavirus into submission.
While many hope for a fast cure, there are many steps required before a cure can be found. At first, comes gene sequencing which maps out the virus DNA, then virus isolation so it can easily be tested. From there treatments, drugs and vaccines are created, but require stringent testing to make sure they are actually helping rather than making things worse.
On March 12, a research team from Sunnybrook, McMaster University announced having isolating SARS-CoV-2 announced, the contagious agent responsive for the COVID-19 pandemic.
The team cultured the virus from two clinical specimens in a Level 3 containment facility. The now isolated virus will allow researchers across the world to develop better testing, treatment, and vaccines.
As we gain a better understanding of SARS-CoV-2 biology, more progress is soon to follow.
While no quick fixes or miracles were expected, there has been a large amount of progress in a short amount of time which will greatly help with the on-going development of a COVID-19 vaccine.
While vaccines will take quite some time to produce, test and be available to the general public; survivor anti-bodies could be produced within months or even weeks. This century-old treatment use antibodies from the blood plasma of recovered COVID-19 patients to boost the immunity of newly affected patients and those at high risk.
Since the treatment only relies on standard blood-banking practices, a working discovery will be rolled out quickly and a potent weapon to doctor’s arsenals.
John Hopkins University Immunology
On March 13, Immunologists from John Hopkins University announced working on antibody production with a paper published in The Journal of Clinical Investigation.
In summary, donated blood from COVID-19 survivors is turned into a convalescent serum which then contains virus-neutralizing antibodies. This is accomplished through the processing and removal of toxins and trace illnesses from the donator survivor blood. The final goal is for the serum to possess the ability to bind to and neutralize SARS-CoV-2, the virus behind COVID-19.
Drug testing through clinical trials is also quite a long process and unlike survivor antibodies, this a long-term plan. There is, however, one caveat for fast government-approval and that’s if existing drugs that are already approved are being used.
Unfortunately, while there have mentions of drugs like Remdesivir, Favipiravir, Chloroquine, and combinations like Hydroxychloroquine and Azithromycin working in small scale studies; nothing yet has been proven worthy or readily working in those with severe symptoms.
Flu vaccines are generally created from the virus itself, in the form a weakened for killed microbes, toxins or surface proteins. This is why they are heavily tested, and most especially so in highly infectious diseases like COVID-19.
The goal of the vaccine is to stimulate an immune system response against a specific agent (like SARS-CoV-2). Through vaccination, your body is primed to recognize the targeted agent as a threat. In doing so, your immune system will then actively respond by destroying any microorganisms associated with the targeted agent that appears in your body.
Below we document the most viable options for future vaccines that might one day reach full production and distribution.
The mRNA-1273 was the first investigatory vaccine for COVID-19 to go under NIH-funded testing. Produced by Moderna, Phase 1 human-trial testing began on March 16 with four US volunteers at the Kaiser Permanente Health Research Institute in Seattle, WA.
Eleven days later on March 27, the NIH announced a six-week clinical trial with 45 healthy adults to experiment on mRNA-1273;s ability to induce an immune response.
You can watch this mRNA-1273 informational video to quickly learn more.