By Asitha Jayawardena
A search for a vaccine for coronavirus, or Covid-19, is underway in different parts of the world.
There are many contenders for a vaccine but The Guardian has identified five companies and institutions, namely Moderna, CanSino, Oxford University, Imperial College London and Inovio. Two of these are UK institutions.
On Sunday 17 May, Business Secretary Alok Sharma, delivering the government daily briefing, said that 30 million doses of Covid-19 vaccine would be available on September if one would ever be found.
Speaking on Oxford University, he said that the phase one of the clinical trials are progressing well. On Imperial College London, he said that the clinical trials were to begin in mid-June with larger scale trials in October.
So far, the government has invested £47m on the two programmes and, according to him, a further £84m will be spent on accelerating their work as new funding.
The pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca had finalised a “global licensing agreement” with Oxford University with the help of the government, he said. This means that, if the vaccine is successful, AstraZeneca will work to make 30 million doses for the UK by September as part of a 100 million doses in total.
In March Peter Piot, director of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, spent a week in hospital after contracting Covid-19. The Belgian virologist, who led the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS in 1995-2008, said that we would not be able to live a normal life without a coronavirus vaccine.
No Covid-19 vaccine found
Now the trouble is that a vaccine for coronavirus may never be found however much we search for.
Dr David Nabarro, a professor of global health at Imperial College London and who also serving as a special envoy to the WHO during the coronavirus pandemic, said: “We can’t make an absolute assumption that a vaccine will appear at all, or if it does appear, whether it will pass all the tests of efficacy and safety.”
A study from London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine involved over 5,300 whole genome sequences of the new coronavirus from 62 countries. It has confirmed that several mutations show that the virus is well adapted to humans.
The suggestion that Covid-19 vaccine is impossible has gone into politics.
On 11 May, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that the coronavirus vaccine may not be found in the worst-case scenario.
Vaccine for climate change
Covid-19 vaccine is progressing well for the time being.
But Business Secretary Alok Sharma, who is the President of The UN Climate Change Conference UK 2020 or COP26, which has been postponed, has something that he has forgotten.
What about a jab for climate change?
Five organisations in the race to develop a coronavirus vaccine https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/may/18/five-organisations-in-the-race-to-develop-a-coronavirus-vaccine
Coronavirus vaccine for 30 million Britons by September if trial succeeds https://news.sky.com/story/coronavirus-covid-19-vaccine-for-30-million-by-september-if-trial-succeeds-says-sharma-11990039
Coronavirus: Top scientist who battled COVID-19 says we will never live normally without vaccine https://uk.yahoo.com/news/coronavirus-scientist-covid-19-vaccine-130928560.html
There may never be a COVID-19 vaccine, warns WHO coronavirus expert https://uk.news.yahoo.com/may-never-be-coronavirus-vaccine-105403358.html
Coronavirus adapting to humans with mutations that could help it spread, scientists fear https://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/coronavirus-news-latest-study-mutations-human-transmission-a9508086.html
Coronavirus vaccine may never be found, Boris Johnson says https://news.sky.com/story/coronavirus-vaccine-may-never-be-found-boris-johnson-says-11986602