Light at the End of the Tunnel

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BBC News

Kyle Feldkamp

After a full year since the first worldwide confirmed case of COVID-19, scientists have announced that after three phases of testing, initial data shows that two vaccines have a high level of efficacy.

On November 9th, Phizer announced in a press release that after their clinical trials their vaccine was shown to provide protection against disease in over 90% of participants.

However, there are practical concerns over the distribution of this vaccine due to the conditions in which it is given to individuals. The Phizer vaccine is a two-dose vaccine that requires storage at minus 70 degrees Celcius.

The Phizer vaccine announcement was followed up by Modernas press release with the preliminary results of their vaccine trials. Moderna’s vaccine data suggests protection of over 94.5% against contracting the disease.

Both vaccines were developed in record time thanks in part due to the new technology used to develop the vaccine components. Instead of using live viruses, both vaccines use MRNA technology to insert the genetic coding of the virus to allow the body to detect and prepare antibodies against possible infection.

Over the past 9 months, scientists have been working diligently to develop a vaccine in record time. Even with the high demand for a vaccine drug companies have stated that there is no plan to cut corners during the development process and plan to put the vaccines through rigorous safety testing.

Both companies plan to ask the FDA for emergency authorization, and each has 20 million doses prepared for Americans prior to the new year. While the news on vaccine development is good news, scientists express caution. They worry that further data may show the vaccine to be less effective than previously thought and that people may now ignore social distancing guidelines now that a vaccine is beginning to be administered.