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The above analysis is signed by Kate Bingham, head of the British task force created for the development and production of vaccines against Covid-19, in a text published in the scientific journal The Lancet.
According to her, one cannot rule out the hypothesis that all vaccines end up being ineffective, mainly for the most vulnerable group and affected by the disease: the elderly. For Bingham, the vaccine will not be “a silver bullet” that will allow life to return to normal “overnight”.
The British authority joins a growing number of experts who are trying to measure expectations about the emergence of a vaccine against the new coronavirus.
Anthony Fauci, the United States’ leading infectious disease specialist and chief scientist on the White House special team against coronavirus, explained that the vast majority of vaccines against viruses are not intended to prevent contagion, but rather the serious form of the disease.
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“The main goal for (vaccines against) most viruses is to prevent clinical diseases, to prevent symptomatic diseases, and not necessarily to prevent infections. This is a secondary objective. The main thing that you want to do is that, if people get infected, to prevent them from getting sick. And if you prevent them from getting sick, you will end up preventing them from getting seriously ill, “said Fauci during a Yahoo online event on Monday (10/26) about ways out of this crisis.
Results of studies with promising vaccine candidates, such as that of the Oxford / AstraZeneca partnership and that of Moderna, point out that immunizers are able to generate a robust immune response against the virus, preventing it from spreading in the body, but they have not been able ) to avoid infection completely.
In an article published in the scientific journal Annals of Internal Medicine, 28 researchers discuss how to define how effective Covid-19 vaccines can be, given the complexity of the disease, which may be accompanied by no symptoms or more than 10 at the same time.
The group of scientists warns that vaccines that prevent symptoms but do not prevent infection can lead to a silent increase in asymptomatic infected patients and, at first, boost the advance of the pandemic.
It is therefore essential to monitor the presence or absence of the virus in volunteers who received vaccines in studies.
In general, these immunizers can avoid infection completely, prevent moderate and severe symptoms or “just” avoid the severe (and therefore fatal) form of the disease. And authorities demand that, in order to be approved, candidates must demonstrate to be effective in at least 50% of immunized people.
If a vaccine eventually managed to prevent contagion, the mitigation of the pandemic would be much more accelerated, but Fauci says that it is very likely that mass immunization will not be this way and therefore will not lead to the accelerated end of the spread of the disease or will dispense with measures of social distance.
Anthony Fauci says vaccines are unlikely to end the pandemic in a short time – Photo: EPA via BBC
“(Vaccines) would help a lot, but they will not solve the problem alone. We will not be able to abandon prudent public health measures for a long time. We have to ensure that they are part of our life without having to close the country or close the economy.”
According to the American infectologist, positive results on vaccine efficacy and safety should be released by December, but they will not solve the problem.
Vaccine available at Christmas?
According to the head of the British vaccine task force, a vaccine against Covid-19 may start to be applied to some of the most vulnerable people around Christmas.
But the limited supply of doses of the immunizer indicates that the government will have to define who will receive it first and when.
The final decision will be made by the government and the Joint Vaccination and Immunization Committee (JCVI), which has already stated that the distribution of the vaccine should be prioritized according to the need, with health professionals and the elderly first in line.
Bingham said in an interview with the BBC BBC that he was optimistic about the discovery of a vaccine that “would protect some people from infection and could reduce the severity of symptoms”, but the former are unlikely to be able to protect the entire population against infection.
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The task force chief also said that people are likely to need two doses and that revaccination will be needed in a few years.
“These vaccines will not be silver bullets that will get everyone back to work normally on January 1. It will take time, and we will probably need more than one vaccine for different sections of the population.”
“Nobody will be safe until we are all safe. The pandemic virus does not respect national borders. There will not be a successful vaccine alone, or a single country, that is capable of serving the world. We urgently need international cooperation to add risks and costs, discuss access barriers and increase manufacturing capacity to produce enough doses to protect everyone from Sars-CoV-2 around the world, “wrote Bingham in The Lancet.
And when will society return to ‘normal’?
For Bingham, it is difficult to define an exact date to resume normal life, especially without knowing what type of vaccine will be available, how many doses will be needed, how effective they will be and in what age group they will work best.
“Is there a concrete expectation that we will be able to go back to normal? Of course that’s what I hope will happen, but we don’t have the data to be sure that it will happen and that it will happen overnight.
One of the main concerns, she said, is that work on a vaccine has to start from scratch if the virus mutates significantly in the future.
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Bingham said he was hopeful that by 2022 there would be no more need for people to wear masks and was more confident that we could have parties and family reunions in 2022.
But the 2021 vacation will still depend on the effectiveness of the immunizers and the current pandemic situation. Europe is experiencing a second wave of the disease, and several countries have decided to adopt strict containment measures to prevent crowded hospitals and further deaths.
Since the official appearance of the first cases of covid-19 in December 2019, the disease has killed 1.16 million people around the world. There are 44 million registered cases, 20 million of them in the Americas.
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