Since coronavirus emerged in January almost 200 vaccine candidates have been put into development, with at least 15 in human trials.
But in an exciting development, million doses of vaccine could be put on the market before Christmas after US multinational Pfizer and German biotech firm BioNTech revealed on November 9 that their coronavirus vaccine was more than 90 percent effective in preventing Covid-19 among those without evidence of prior infection.
The vaccine could become available in the Czech Republic next April, say experts.
“Preference will be given to vulnerable groups of the population, ie the elderly, or healthcare professionals,” said the chairman of the Czech Vaccinology Society, Roman Chlíbek.
“Blanket vaccination for all the citizens could be possible in one year, said Libor Grubhoffer, professor of molecular and cellular biology and genetics.
Pfizer/BioNTech are the first to share data from the final stages of testing – known as a phase 3 trial. This is a crucial point in vaccine development, where some experimental vaccines will fail.
Pfizer said its candidate vaccine was more than 90% effective in preventing infection in volunteers. It uses a never-before-approved technology called messenger RNA, or mRNA, to produce an immune response in people who are vaccinated.
The mRNA vaccine approach uses genetic material called mRNA to trick cells into producing bits of protein that look like pieces of the virus. The immune system learns to recognize and attack those bits and, in theory, would react fast to any actual infection.
Currently, there are 52 coronavirus vaccines in various stages of clinical trials, with a handful almost ready to apply for approval. Most experts believe we’ll have several ready to distribute by early 2021, but it may not be until 2022 that life starts to get back to normal.