Fear of vaccinations is not new, even anti-TB vaccines have been ravaged by caricatures of people who are partly becoming cows. Could rapid developments against Covid be a real concern?
Preparing a vaccine against Covid-19 in 1 year is no small feat. However, vaccination will only be effective if at least 60 percent of people will be willing to give the vaccine voluntarily. For the time being, however, the propensity to vaccinate in Hungary (along with many other countries) is far from this: it is only 20-36 percent among Hungarians, according to a representative poll conducted by the Publicus Institute on behalf of Népszava. Many people do not trust the vaccine because they believe the vaccine was developed too quickly, so its safety and effectiveness are in doubt. Based on an article in Medical News Today, we looked for the answer to what led to the rapid success. When the Covid-19 epidemic arrived in Europe, America, and Australia in the spring, the development of vaccines that trigger immunity to the SARS-CoV-2 virus began immediately. However, the study of the new virus did not have to start from scratch, as SARS-CoV-2 belongs to the family of coronaviruses, which have hundreds of varieties, four of which are responsible for common cold. In addition, SARS caused an epidemic in 2002 and MERS in 2012, if not as significant as SARS-CoV-2. Scientists have been studying coronaviruses for more than 50 years, meaning they had an extensive database of the genomes, structures, and life cycles of these types of pathogens when the new virus emerged. So the scientists didn’t start from scratch when they started working against the new coronavirus. “The work of scientists at Oxford University to date to produce a vaccine against MERS has proved to be a suitable experimental basis for the development of a vaccine against COVID-19,” said Eric J. Yager, a microbiologist at the University of Health and Pharmacy in Albania. Thus, it may have happened that a map of the genome of the new coronavirus was ready ten days after the first pneumonia was detected in Wuhan last January. THE genetic engineering, mRNA-based vaccines development and artificial intelligence aspiring, smart algorithms can shorten the first stage of vaccine development by months, as they can produce testable vaccine candidates in days and even hours through an accurate understanding of the nature and behavior of the pathogen. The technology based on messenger RNA, developed with the help of a Hungarian researcher Katalin Karikó, is used for the first time in the history of vaccines as a method of producing a vaccine. Rapid development was also aided by the fact that, given the importance of the case, testing came up relatively quickly volunteers thousands, which increased the number of sites that could be designated for testing and the amount of data available on vaccinations. Contributing to this was the fact that they arrived quickly and in large sums development funds: overwhelmingly government grants, donations from international organizations and non-governmental foundations, and private sector investment. Under normal circumstances, the development of a vaccine can also take 10-15 years because it consumes huge amounts of money and many times there is no one to cover the cost. Contrary to popular belief, drug development is a bad business, with initial research, the first testing phase can cost as much as $ 31-68 million. Extensive second- and third-phase clinical trials require additional millions. In addition, the pandemic not only opened the money taps, but also among researchers cooperation also stimulated. Thanks to the tremendous advances in genetic engineering, Chinese researchers shared the genome sequence of SARS-CoV-2 on an open access site as early as January 11-12. In addition, a number of laboratories, researchers and pharmaceutical companies have almost immediately switched to developing a coronavirus vaccine, and the WHO has sought to use its own means to urge global collaboration.
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