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Will initial vaccines make it harder to trial improved versions?(6 Posts)
I posted a while back about how vaccines could continue to be trialled once every one had been given the first ones (assuming we get some). People said it would still be possible to test later versions using volunteers even if they had already had another vaccine first. However the below article in the Guardian has experts in the field raising this very issue. I have noted that the Guardian has been taking a very negative stance on vaccines, but still, this does concern me. Is there any one with knowledge in the field who can give any input? Or am I misunderstanding the article?
It's rubbish. For starters, most vaccines are in development using tried and trusted techniques - they are far from novel or untried as he claims. The reason so many trials could get going so fast is because they built on existing foundations. To develop something from scratch takes much longer.
But yes, scientists will need to look at how vaccines are refined and improved upon for he future. They have been doing that ever since Jenner discovered how to use cowpox! This is not a new phenomenon, and our first flu vaccines had a long way to go before they became what we have now.
I would be reticent about believing anyone who thinks that they purpose of the vaccine is to "turn off the virus" - not one of the current vaccines in development will do that; very few vaccines can do that. "Turning something off" is a very hard thing to do in medical terms. But there is some very early preliminary research that has suggested a possible route to "turning off the virus", but it is a very, very long way off happening, if it ever does.
For anyone interested, that latter bit refers to the fact that scientists have discovered a "pocket" in the virus which could, in simple terms, be stuffed full of something that totally demolishes the virus. But they don't know what would do that, or how to get it in the pocket. But apart from that, it's a goer!
The Guardian never met a piece of Covid bad news that it didn't like.
I wouldn't have thought so. When I was a kid the polio vaccine was the live vaccine delivered in a sugar lump.
By the time ds came along "they" had decided that one sugar lump would rot the baby's teeth (even if they didn't yet have any) so they gave it to ds in vile-tasting liquid form.
And now I believe a "dead" vaccine is given in injectable form.
Vaccines change all the time and I can't see this being any different. There are different forms of flu vaccine too.
Yes it will have an impact. But there are many variables. If the first vaccine is only slightly better than nothing there will be an appetite for development. If it is fabulous people will be less inclined to join trials - but that is less concerning if we have a good one anyway. It may work in some people but not others (eg elderly or those who cannot have live vaccines). There may be limited supply and it not be available to all. In these cases there is still a part of the population who will still be unvaccinated and interested in other options. If the challenge trials are allowed they will also aim to help this in terms of speed and comparing different vaccine options.
Lots of research compares an existing treatment with the new thing. In cancer trials they say you can have option A which is our standard care, or B which is new and we think it may be better but we don’t know. Patients are given their options and can choose to go in the trial, or not. And plenty of people enter those trials.
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