The end of COVID-19 will likely occur on or before February 2021. I was quite bullish on this Oxford vaccine months ago (video). Results published in The Lancet on July 20, 2020 confirm the efficacy of mRNA vaccines. In the video below, I explain why I (optimistically) believe we will have widespread immunity by February 2021. Thus, a possible end to the most cumbersome impacts of the pandemic is only six month away.
The Oxford vaccine is (by far) leapfrogging other vaccine in development. Why? It is based on the type of technology used. Specifically, messenger RNA (mRNA). In this video, I explain why mRNA vaccines are better, faster and safer than traditional approaches.
I’m not alone in my optimism. The University of Oxford and its partner, pharma giant AstraZeneca received $1.2 from the White House early in the pandemic. Quite simply, mRNA vaccines were the only available technology to fast-track widespread immunity. Therefore, the end of the COVID-19 pandemic depends on this approach.
Testing has been moving at unprecedented speed
Earlier this year, the Oxford tested the vaccine on 25 rhesus monkeys. They received (“challenged”) large doses of the COVID-19 virus. Every animal showed viral immunity. Between April and May 2020, 1,077 humans between 18-55 years old were vaccinated. Those results (published yesterday, July 20, 2020) showed no serious side effects and strong immunity. Furthermore, T-cell responses in the vaccinated subjects proved effective in attacking already infected cells. As of July 21, 2020, over 10,000 subjects in the U.K. have been vaccinated. Within the next few weeks, 30,000 subjects in the United States will receive the vaccine.
A concern (now allayed) was how to get the vaccine into the subjects. Oxford used a common cold virus (adenovirus) to insert the mRNA into subjects. Some worried that a reaction to the cold virus would cause side effects (reference). This did not turn out to be the case. In fact, the mild reactions to the vaccine (typical in all vaccines) lessened on a second, booster dose.
The end date of COVID-19?
AstraZeneca and its partners have committed to the production of billions of doses. Some publications anticipate vaccinations starting this Fall. However, cautiously (and optimistically) I believe we will see widespread availability December 2020. Furthermore, January 2021 will see the follow-up booster to further enhance immunity. Consequently, by February, 2021, we should see widespread immunity which will severely restrict new transmissions of the COVID-19 virus and the end to the pandemic.