Monday, August 24, 2020

A Vaccine That Stops Covid-19 Won’t Be Enough

The best vaccines don’t just prevent a disease; they also prevent the pathogen causing the disease from being transmitted. So why aren’t we focusing more on those? Image: Claire Merchlinsky

By Adam Finn and Richard Malley

Not long after the new coronavirus first surfaced last December, an ambitious prediction was made: A vaccine would be available within 12 to 18 months, and it would stop the pandemic.

Despite serious challenges — how to mass manufacture, supply and deliver a vaccine worldwide — the first prong of that wish could well be fulfilled. Eight vaccine candidates are undergoing large-scale efficacy tests, so-called Phase 3 trials, and results are expected by the end of this year or early 2021.

But even if one, or more, of those efforts succeeds, a vaccine might not end the pandemic. This is partly because we seem to be focused at the moment on developing the kind of vaccine that may well prevent Covid-19, the disease, but that wouldn’t do enough to stop the transmission of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19.  Read more >>