While the COVID-19 pandemic feels as if it’s lasted for ages, it’s been about a year since it first hit the US. Now, we have two vaccines ready for distribution. Typically, vaccines take years to develop and distribute, which is why many feel uncertain about the COVID-19 vaccine’s quick arrival. However, there are a few logical reasons behind how the COVID-19 vaccine was developed so fast.
Previous Coronavirus Strands
COVID-19 is one of many coronaviruses. This means researchers didn’t have to start from scratch when looking to understand the virus and develop an effective vaccine.
We’ve seen many firsts in the COVID-19 pandemic, such as advancements in testing technology to using mRNA vaccines. Many routine vaccines require loads of virus production first. However, with the use of mRNA, this isn’t necessary.
Instead these new vaccines rely on material synthesized in a laboratory, without the virus. This is one of the most significant advancements in making the vaccine so quick to develop.
Under normal circumstances where we aren’t experiencing a raging pandemic, a vaccine can take over a decade to create. In the case of COVID-19, researchers and the general public don’t have the luxury of time. For this reason, researchers and medical partners were willing to mobilize and share data to find an answer quickly.
Developing a vaccine is no walk in the park; vaccine research is costly. Research and clinical trials can cost millions of dollars and become even more expensive when on a strict timeline. During the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve seen the government partner with multiple institutions for ample funding. Even celebrities like Dolly Parton have donated millions of dollars to get a vaccine in the public’s hands.
The COVID-19 pandemic has put extreme pressure on the medical field to find a safe and effective vaccine. New technology, ample funding, and worldwide collaboration are just a few examples of how the COVID-19 vaccine was developed so fast.