As we write this, the number of positive coronavirus cases have already touched the 16.5 million mark and resulted in 9.57 million fatalities across the world. At the same time, scientists and medical experts globally are working at breakneck speed to develop a vaccine which can induce an immune system response against the novel coronavirus.As of now, there are more than 155 vaccine candidates in different stages of clinical trials and 26 of them have reached the human trails phase. Out of these, 5 potential vaccines have reached the Phase III (or last stage) of clinical trials, where thousands of volunteers of different age groups are dosed with the vaccine candidate to test its safety and efficacy in inducing an immune response.
Coronavirus vaccine candidates in Phase III of human trials
As of now, vaccine candidates developed by the University of Oxford, Chinese company Sinopharm, Chinese pharmaceutical giant Sinovac and recent entrant Moderna Inc have reached Phase III of human trials. Infact, the encouraging results of the preliminary trials conducted by Oxford University have given birth to new hopes of vaccination against the novel coronavirus. However, even after the encouraging vaccine data and novel hopes that a vaccine may be available before 2020 fall, face masks and face-coverings may still be very a part of our daily routine. We tell you why.
Why you can’t throw away your masks, even after a coronavirus vaccine
First things first, since the vaccines have been developed at warp speed to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus, we may not have a vaccine which is completely effective in providing immunity against the novel coronavirus.
Yes, while the vaccines may reduce the chances of a COVID patient from contracting the infection again and even lower the odds of developing symptoms, they may not immediately provide complete protection against the novel coronavirus or prevent people from getting infected all together. As of now, vaccine candidates are aiming to provide at least 60 to 70 per cent efficacy in preventing COVID-19 infections.Vaccine is not a magical solution for COVID-19
According to a report published in Science Insider, Maria Elena Bottazzi, a vaccine developer at Baylor College of Medicine said, “The moment you get a vaccine doesn't mean you're going to put your mask in the trash. That is not going to happen. I hope people don't think that is going to be the magic solution for all.” This basically means there will be subsequent need for revised, more robust vaccines which will have increased efficacy in preventing coronavirus infection and this whole journey may take some more time.
The bottom line
We have to understand that getting a jab of coronavirus vaccine does not mean that we can go back to living the way we used to before the pandemic erupted. We will still need to practise social distancing measures and follow established respiratory hygiene practices to help the vaccine do its job and bring down the rate of infection. Obviously, a vaccine which is even 60 per cent effective is much better than no vaccine at all, as it will help us inch closer to the stage of herd immunity. Till then, don’t throw your masks away!