The Road to a Coronavirus Vaccine

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Carl Recine/Reuters

Scientists at Cobra Biologics in Keele, Britain were developing potential COVID-19 vaccine.

In the wake of the massive eruption of cases of COVID-19, the need for a solution to this pandemic is in dire need. It was first reported that the virus first appeared in Wuhan, a large city in the province of Hubei, China. From there it started to spread throughout China and the rest of Asia, later making its way to Europe and onto the western world.
With the increase of cases day by day in the world we have come to a time of quarantine or lockdown if you would like, where only essential businesses are open, schools are closed, and people are forced to work from home. There have been laws put in place to help decrease the spread of this virus, such as: If leaving your home you must wear a protective cloth over your mouth and nose.
One of the worst parts of this pandemic is that it targets the elderly and also those with compromised immune systems. Protecting this part of the world’s population has been made imperative, as now stores are now allocating times for only the elderly to shop so as to protect them from the general population.
Now that we are over two months into the quarantine doctors are in the process of creating possible vaccines that will be spread to the masses to help end its spread. But to create a vaccine there are many steps and processes that must be done. This is important because if there is any flaw in the vaccine it could cause many to become sick, have unforeseen abnormalities, or even death.
The first step in the creation of a vaccine is growth and harvest of the pathogen (Coronavirus), which will be grown in cell cultures. Cell culture is the process of growing cells under controlled conditions, generally outside of their natural environment. Then there will be a generation of an antigen that will trigger an immune response.

Nicolas Asfouri/AFP/Getty
An experimental vaccine for COVID-19 from Sinovac Biotech in Beijing.

The next step will be to release or remove the virus from the cell and isolate it from the material that aided its growth. The main goal of this is to release as much of the virus as possible. This will lead to the purification of the antigen, in some cases chromatography and ultrafiltration are used in this step.
Soon after, testing on animals will begin. When there is seen to be great accomplishments and little to no mortality rate they will move to humans seeing that their tests have caused the immune system to do what they wanted in the animals. They will do many tests to know where to inject the vaccine if it affects the skin or anywhere else in the body. This is to make sure that they are distributing a vaccine that is safe for all.
Then the vaccine will be strengthened, in most cases there is the use of an adjuvant, which is a material that enhances the immune system’s response. There also may be stabilizers that will increase the shelf life of the vaccine.
Lastly, after all of these steps have been completed, then a vaccine will be made and mass produced and distributed amongst the population of the world. In total, this process takes a long time without the proper funding, but with the support that is being brought by the community, this vaccine could be in the makes and distributed by mid-2021 or even earlier.