When World Health Organization Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus declared the COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic, he said “we have never before seen a pandemic sparked by a coronavirus…and we have never before seen a pandemic that can be controlled, at the same time.” While the COVID-19 pandemic has prompted countries the world over – India included – to impose restrictions and measures virtually unprecedented in recent history, it has also prompted an unprecedented response of a different kind in the search for a coronavirus vaccine.
“There has never been such a rapid global collective effort to fight one disease,” Karen Grépin, an associate professor at the School of Public Health at the University of Hong Kong told Times Higher Education earlier this month. “It has only been a little more than three months since this virus was identified and already there are a number of vaccine candidates in development for Sars-CoV-2 [the virus that causes COVID-19, which is a remarkable system.”
Writing in The Guardian, Laura Spinney noted that “even at their most effective – and draconian – containment strategies have only slowed the spread of the respiratory disease COVID-19…all eyes have turned to the prospect of a vaccine, because only a vaccine can prevent people from getting sick.”
With the current climate in mind, PandemiCast, in its third edition, discusses with an expert panel the notion of a coronavirus vaccine and the broader issues surrounding immunisation in the context of a global pandemic. The video can be watched here.