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COVID-19 Vaccines. A race against time in the middle of death and devastation!

Khuroo MS, Khuroo M, Khuroo MS, Sofi AA, Khuroo NS. COVID-19 Vaccines: A Race Against Time in the Middle of Death and Devastation! J Clin Exp Hepatol. 2020 Nov-Dec;10(6):610-621. doi: 10.1016/j.jceh.2020.06.003. Epub 2020 Jun 10. PMID: 32837093; PMCID: PMC7286271.

The COVID-19 has turned in to a global human tragedy and economic devastation. Governments have implemented lockdown measures, blocked international travel, and enforced other public containment measures to mitigate the virus morbidity and mortality. As of today, no drug has the power to fight the infection and bring normalcy to the utter chaos. This leaves us with only one choice namely an effective and safe vaccine that shall be manufactured as soon as possible and available to all countries and populations affected by the pandemic at an affordable price. There has been an unprecedented fast track path taken in R&D by the World community for developing an effective and safe vaccine. Platform technology has been exploited to develop candidate vaccines in a matter of days to weeks and as of now, 108 such vaccines are available. Six of these vaccines have entered clinical trials. As clinical trials are ‘rate-limiting’ and ‘time-consuming’, many innovative methods are in practice for a fast track. These include parallel phase I-II trials and obtaining efficacy data from phase IIb trials. Human ‘challenge experiments’ to confirm efficacy in humans is under serious consideration. The availability of the COVID-19 vaccine has become a race against time in the middle of death and devastation. There is an atmosphere of tremendous hype around the COVID-19 vaccine and developers are using every moment to make claims, which remain unverified. However, concerns are raised about a rush to deploy a COVID-19 vaccine. Applying ‘Quick fix’ and short cuts can lead to errors with disastrous consequences.

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