The search for a vaccine
As Latin-American countries have started easing down on the lockdown measures, the chance for a second wave of infection demands strict and rational control policies to keep fatalities minimized. A part of the hopes of the population to return to normality centers on the development of a vaccine that provides immunity, because despite the fact that a typical vaccine takes years to be developed, those that are being designed for this pandemic advance to a pace never seen before. However, for both the scientific community and public health officials, deciding when a vaccine will be ready for mass release to the public is a delicate balancing act.
Currently, there are more than 150 vaccines in development around the world, and four main strategies are used to elicit an immune response against COVID-19: (i) first, using either a weakened or inactivated virus; (ii) second, using either replicating or nonreplicating viral vectors, to produce viral proteins inside the body; (iii) third, using nucleic-acid-based vaccines, either RNA or DNA, to make copies of viral spike protein using host machinery; (iv) fourth, using protein-based vaccines to inject viral protein fragment or virus-like particle inside the body. Table 1 summarises the current vaccine trials.
Tabla 1 Main candidates for the COVID-19 vaccine in clinical trial
|BNT 162||Pfizer, BioNTech|
|INO 4800||Inovio Pharmaceuticals|
|Korean Institute of Health|
|LV-SMENP-DC||Shenzhen Genoimmune Medical Institute|
|aAPC vaccine||Shenzhen Genoimmune Medical Institute|
|COVID-19 vaccine||Wuhan Institute of Biological Products (Sinopharm)|
|Nonreplicating viral vector||ChAdox1 nCoV-19||Universidad de Oxford, AstraZeneca|
|Ad5- nCoV||CanSino Biologics|
|BCG vaccine||Max Planck Institute|
|BCG vaccine||Radboud University|
|BCG vaccine||Texas A&M University|
While the world continues to search for the vaccine, it is recommended that countries reinforce the use of the diagnostic, treatment and control tools developed to contain the disease. Healthcare workers must be supported with supplies and remain updated with the up-to-date knowledge, and citizens must play their role to maintain basic guidelines. At the governmental level, facilitating more testing and contact tracing, providing timely publication of epidemic information, enabling early diagnosis, and delivering supportive treatments for the patients are of utmost importance.