Just a few months ago, the COVID-19 pandemic began to impact life in ways no one expected. Now, a lot of us find ourselves wondering when we will return to some sort of normalcy. Unfortunately, experts around the world can’t provide an exact date – but here are a few points that most can agree on:
- The catalyst for returning to normalcy will be a vaccine. Most experts agree that we will continue to see outbreaks of varying degrees until a vaccine is developed and distributed to the masses.
- Many of the usual drug development steps still apply. Even though scientists are working more quickly than normal to develop a vaccine, the various stages of drug development still need to be completed, including but not limited to safety testing, efficacy testing, tracking of adverse effects, and determining dosage and frequency.
- Researchers are working at a record-breaking pace. The timeline for the development of a vaccine is typically 10 to 15 years; however, some experts think the timeline could shrink to 12 to 24 months, due to the urgent need for a vaccine.
Many pharmaceutical companies worldwide have pivoted their efforts to work on a vaccine for the novel coronavirus. As of mid-April, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported more than 75 potential COVID-19 vaccine candidates. These candidates will need to enroll a number of participants into clinical trials to see how their vaccines measure up.
In the meantime, we need to continue to do what we can to suppress outbreaks by listening to experts like state and local officials, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the World Health Organization (WHO), who are continuing to update the public as new information becomes available.