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What Does It Take To Make Vaccines?

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Channel: Science ABC
Categories: Biology   |   Health   |   Science  
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Since vaccination was discovered in 1769 by Edward Jenner, it has come to become an indispensable part of healthcare. Over the last 50 years, advances in science and technology have allowed us to develop vaccines to diseases at breakneck speed, but the process is still long and each disease and pathogen pose its own unique challenges.

On average, developing a vaccine for a completely new disease can take 8 years or more. Performing basic research to understand the pathogen, choosing the right vaccine strategy and then performing clinical trials all while ensuring the vaccine is safe and works well is a lengthy process.
For diseases such as the flu, past research has now made it possible for vaccine developers to design a new vaccine for a flu in a years time. There is similar hope that a vaccine for COVID-19 will be ready within a year due to the research already conducted in the past on other coronaviruses.

A note on clinical trials:

The structure of a clinical trial isnt set in stone. Depending on various factors such as whether a vaccine is a new formulation or whether it is completely new, or for what disease the vaccine treats, the finer details of the clinical trials might vary. Every clinical trial might not be a double blind trial, although that is the gold standard. Additionally, phase I and phase II might not have a placebo in some instances.

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