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Jason asks: “If a vaccine is discovered, when will a kid be able to receive it?”
If and when a vaccine is discovered, it would almost certainly be available to people of all ages and not exclude children.
There have been some promising developments lately in the search for a vaccine, but most experts agree that it will probably be at least early next year before a vaccine is developed and widely produced.
However, infectious disease expert Dr. Isaac Bogoch from the University of Toronto believes the usual time it takes to develop a vaccine could be lessened in the case of COVID-19 due to the virus’ dire circumstances.
“It’s incredible to see how many teams are working on this and it just gives me hope that we’re going to have an effective vaccine hopefully in the foreseeable future,” he says. “Vaccine research takes time and it’s really nice to see that many of these teams are taking that transition from the laboratory now into human trials.”
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced $1.1 billion in federal funding for COVID-19 vaccine research on April 23.
Typically, vaccines have to go through three phases of clinical trials before they are approved for mass production. A team at Dalhousie University will be running the first clinical trials on Canadians of a prospective vaccine developed by CanSino Biologics, a Chinese vaccine company. The team says that early trials of adults in Wuhan produced neutralizing antibodies and a response in the cells that protect the body from pathogens.
If a vaccine shows positive signs in phase I of clinical trials, phase II goes ahead and requires testing the vaccine on hundreds of people. Phase III requires testing thousands of people and can last between six months to several years.
Last week, American biotech company Moderna Inc. announced promising early results for a COVID-19 vaccine. The Massachusetts company tested eight volunteers with a low- to medium-dose of the vaccine, who then showed antibodies similar to those who had recovered from the novel coronavirus. Further trials are scheduled for July.
There are currently over 120 separate groups working to produce a COVID-19 vaccine.
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-With files from Monika Gul