Vaccines and the road to recovery

As another Coronavirus vaccine producer reports welcome findings, G&L  Scientific CEO Stephen Loughrey, reflects on the need for thorough testing.

“The race to find a vaccine for Coronavirus has dominated headlines in recent weeks.

“Stage three trials by Pfizer-BioNTech, Sputnik and Moderna, have all reported very encouraging preliminary results with effectiveness rates of between 90 and 95 per cent.

“Today, 19 November, this news has been bolstered by the announcement that the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine is displaying strong responses in the immunity of adults in their 60s and 70s, the age groups most at risk from the virus.

“The findings also note that, unlike the Pfizer vaccine, the Oxford drug can be stored at much higher temperatures making its proposed roll-out and storage easier.

“Meanwhile, Stage two research in China is showing equally promising results and giving real hope of a large-scale vaccine being made available sooner rather than later.

“The impact and effects of Coronavirus have been, and continue to be, devastating. Almost 1.5 million people have died, businesses are struggling, and daily life has changed dramatically for us all.

“There is a huge demand and need for a vaccine. However, this must be balanced with the prerequisite to ensure rigorous testing alongside strict adherence to regulatory and quality requirements before any mass distribution.

“Billions of dollars have been invested but safety and efficacy must not be sacrificed in the rush to bring a vaccine to market.

“Stage three trials are a huge step forward. However, we still have some distance yet to travel and critical steps must not be ignored as part of the process.

“Integral to this will be the crucial date gathered by the various vaccine producers.

“Yesterday, MHRA, the UK drug regulator, confirmed it is still waiting on this information before approval can be considered for the much-hailed Pfizer vaccine. Once received, this will be subject to thorough testing to assess its safety and effectiveness and, of course, that will take time too.

“It is also essential to remember that multiple vaccines will be required from a range of manufacturers and even when approved we really won’t know just how effective they are until they are distributed far and wide to the general public and the various unknowns have been explored and resolved.

“Vaccines are not a one-size-fits-all solution. However, they are a step forward on the road to recovery and must be combined with our efforts to curb the spread of the virus.

“We are all eagerly awaiting the vaccine. In the meantime, we must continue to respect Coronavirus and do all we can to mitigate its impact.”

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