Since the Covid-19 pandemic reared its head earlier this year, the live music scene has been decimated due to the real and continued need for social distancing measures that stop the spread of the virus around the world. With 52 million cases and 1.2 million deaths to date, along with sustained and serious “second waves” in many countries as the Northern Hemisphere heads into winter, there does now appear to be some light at the end of the tunnel in terms of a functioning Coronavirus vaccine.
Today, Nov 9, a preliminary analysis into a front-running candidate vaccine developed by US pharma giant Pfizer and German biotechnology company BioNTech revealed a 90% efficacy rate after testing on over 43,000 people across six countries, far higher than a flu vaccine and roughly in line with that of the measles vaccine. While safety data and duration of immunity are still not confirmed, it is widely expected among the scientific community that this and other similar vaccines will be fully approved before the end of the year, with 50 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine alone expected before the end of December.
Elsewhere, a similar font-running vaccine being developed by the University of Oxford and Astra Zeneca is also expected to offer similar results in the coming weeks, with this vaccine already approved for emergency use in the UK to protect healthcare staff and vulnerable hospital patients over the coming weeks.
Despite concern about the speed of such development, it is clear the scientific community have taken a “zero risk” approach to this whole process. As always, it is not just the role but the duty of any scientist to “assume the worst” until they can conclusively prove otherwise, hence the rather pessimistic language about the possibility “we may never have a vaccine” until just a few months ago. As a result, the fact senior scientists are now heralding such developments as a way out, is a sure sign that we are now on a clear path to the end of this pandemic.
In the meantime however, it is clear that a widespread roll-out of any Coronavirus vaccine will take some months, so it is now more vital than ever to continue social distancing measures and make sure that those who may be vulnerable, both young and old, are able to enjoy normality once this pandemic ends.
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