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article imageCoronavirus vaccines are coming, but when will they arrive?

By Tim Sandle     Jun 18, 2020 in Science
Coronavirus vaccines are coming, perhaps as soon as the end of the year, offering hope for a world rocked by pandemic. But how is the science progressing?
While Pfizer's CEO aims for a vaccine by year's end, according to Forbes, USC experts have outlined what is involved with the vaccine development.
Experts on the vaccine progress include Professor Pin Wang of the USC Viterbi School of Engineering. Wang is an expert in using molecular engineering to understand immune system responses and develop new targeted treatments, including vaccines, for diseases.
In a statement, Wang says: "Right now, we’re on an accelerated path to vaccine development for coronavirus, while paying sufficient attention to the potential side effects,” Wang said. “We are cutting a lot of corners because we are desperate, so there’s urgency. We have to be sure the product doesn’t cause harm. It’s a very challenging task, but that’s the only option right now. We don’t have much choice."
While the path to vaccine development is complex and challenging, Wang is of the view that a workable vaccine will be unveiled by the end of 2020. This optimistic appraisal is based on an assessment of data collated from preclinical studies.
A further reason relates to the strategy of approaching vaccine development from different tangents, where the coronavirus vaccine research is running across four platforms. The four platforms are taking different trajectories to stimulate immunity to the virus. Involved in the development of the vaccine are advanced technologies, such as genetic engineering and gene sequencing.
One platform centers on examining coronavirus antigens, which can be introduced by a DNA/RNA. Other platforms include delivery via protein, hybrid viruses, or inactivated coronaviruses. In each case, the aim is the same in terms of seeking to trigger a response from the body’s natural defenses.
There are issues to resolve however, in that even when a successful vaccine is developed it may not entirely counteract all the coronavirus infections or symptoms.
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