U.S. and the world seek COVID-19 vaccine

Matthew Boccella, Staff writer

Governments around the world are becoming increasingly desperate for a coronavirus vaccine. The U.S. is no exception.

“It [The United States] has invested more than $10 billion in developing eight different COVID-19 vaccines, with much of that money prepurchasing hundreds of millions of doses so they will be at the ready if an FDA approval comes through,” wrote Jon Cohen in an Aug. 28 article published in Science, the online magazine published by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).

The fact that the presidential elections will be taking place soon may make the race for a vaccine dangerous, according to Cohen, who wrote that “vaccine veterans” were concerned desperation could lead to corners being cut during the federal government’s drug approval process.

“They worry that political forces—the U.S. presidential election on 3 November, nationalistic pride to “win” a race, the need to resuscitate economies—could lead to premature and dangerous approvals under mechanisms such as the emergency use authorization (EUA), a pathway used by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to allow rapid access to diagnostics, treatments, and vaccine,” Cohen wrote.

Russia also is in the race. On Aug. 11, Russia released on a limited basis a vaccine labeled Sputnik 5.  The vaccine was praised by Russia President Vladimir Putin, according to an Aug. 11 story by Nicoletta Lanese on the Live Science website.

“I know [the vaccine] has proven efficient and forms a stable immunity,” Putin said, according to the Live Science story.

However, the vaccine has been criticized for an apparent lack of testing, the Lanese’s story said. 

“The rush to approve the vaccine has raised concerns from scientists within Russia and abroad, who say that only carefully designed human trials, which include thousands of people, can clearly demonstrate that a vaccine is safe and effective enough for public use,” Lanese wrote.