An overview of vaccination and vaccine development historically and in the context of the COVID-19, including a summay of the biology and immune response demonstrated from previous coronavirus infections and SARS-CoV-2 and the challenges associated with vaccine production in a pandemic.
This chapter discusses vaccination and vaccine development historically and in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. It describes the process of traditional vaccine development, summarizes the biology and immune response demonstrated from previous coronavirus infections and SARS-CoV-2. It outlines the challenges associated with vaccine production in a pandemic amd examines the various platforms being utilized for COVID-19 vaccine candidates. In addition, the question of whether mutations in the spike protein might affect the efficacy of a vaccine is addressed as also are potential problems that may arise by fast-tracking vaccine production. Vaccine development has typically taken up to 15 years, but with fast tracking it is hoped to reduce this to 1.5 years or less thus potentially raising concerns over public acceptance as well as concerns regarding challenges from anti-vaxxers. While there are over 100 vaccines currently in clinical trials, this chapter will focus on the vaccines that have gained approval by the drug regulators for emergency usage. Although the production capacity may not be able to meet the global demand for vaccines in the very near future, it would be beneficial to have a limited number of vaccines available for emergency use and the more vulnerable population as soon as possible with the ultimate aim of distributing vaccines globally to the rest of the population by the end of 2021.