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COVID-19 Vaccine

The COVID-19 vaccine will be available in Poland soon.

The outbreak of the epidemic caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2) has brought the world to the brink of a global crisis in both the medical and economic sectors. Intensive research into inventing an effective remedy has been underway for over a year. Developing an effective COVID-19 vaccine that will induce long-term COVID-19 vaccine protection is key to tackling the global pandemic.

COVID-19 vaccine: there are two syringes, two vaccines and a COVID-19 vaccine box on a blue background

According to WHO, the most vulnerable are elderly people with comorbidities such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), diabetes, arterial hypertension, coronary artery disease, hepatitis B (hepatitis B), obesity, cancer or chronic kidney disease (CKD). However, there are, of course, exceptions to this rule, and unfortunately, young people often become seriously ill, without comorbidities.

How does SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus affect the human body?

Coronavirus has been confirmed to cause severe acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) and damage many organs (lungs, heart muscle, kidneys)

The typical symptoms of this infection include: fever, dry cough, shortness of breath, fatigue, and muscle pain. Coughing up blood, diarrhea, nausea and vomiting have been reported in severe cases. Symptoms unusual for infections caused by other pathogens, such as changes in the sense of smell and taste, may also occur.

Research into the COVID-19 vaccine

Research work to develop a vaccine against COVID-19 has been underway since the beginning of 2020. Designing and introducing a vaccine to the pharmaceutical market is a long and complicated process. It consists of many steps: isolation and selection of virus strains, in vitro experiments, preclinical animal studies, clinical trials and registration procedures. The World Health Organization (WHO) updates the latest reports on the progress of work on COVID-19 vaccine preparations on an ongoing basis. There you can find a lot of information related to the type of tested preparations and the stage of their research. According to recent reports, 190 potential vaccines are currently being tested. Forty of them are currently being tested in clinical trials. Some of these types of COVID-19 vaccines are well known and have been in use for years on the market, such as weakened live (non-disease-causing) vaccines, adjuvanted subunit formulations, viral-like particle formulations, or new, previously not used on a large scale in humans or used in a limited way, i.e. vector preparations or vaccines containing genetic material of the novel coronavirus. We distinguish the following groups of preparations that are currently at the stage of preclinical and clinical trials:

  • genetic vaccines – based on mRNA or DNA nucleic acid, which build structural structures or DNA. The most advanced research is currently underway on “mRNA-1273” and “ChAdOx1 nCoV-19”,
  • vaccines, ladies, unable to replicate – are designed to provide SARS-CoV-2
  • antigens to the body,
    A vaccine for the sinister coronavirus, the protein S (peak) is determined to be interacting with a receptor on the cell surface. The Oxford Vaccine Group team is developing a vaccine made of adenovirus containing genetic sequences encoding the synthesis of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus S-white surface, thanks to which the vaccine induces a specific immune response
  • Antibodies against COVID-19 at a higher level of vaccination – attenuated strains, i.e. those unable to cause SARS-CoV-2 disease or inactivated viruses.

In mid-November, three global pharmaceutical companies published data on the effectiveness of their preparations. Pfizer / BioNTech have developed a COVID-19 vaccine based on mRNA technology. It is based on the theory that information carriers in the form of mRNA will be introduced into our body, thanks to which our body learns the structure of the protein it is supposed to block, and thus can produce antibodies that destroy key virus proteins. As it turns out, the effectiveness of these vaccines is estimated at 95%.

The second American company Moderna has created a COVID-19 vaccine also based on mRNA technology, that is, the administration of genetic information to an organism to produce an antigenic protein to fight SARS-CoV-2. Its key advantage is that it does not need to be stored at low temperatures, it will be stable at standard refrigerator temperatures. Unlike the Pfizer vaccine, which has to be stored at -70 ° C.

In turn, AstraZeneca, in cooperation with the University of Oxford, used the replication-incapable adenovirus. The COVID-19 vaccine contains the genetic sequences that encode the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus S surface protein. Its effectiveness is estimated at 70% and its additional advantage is that it does not require very low temperatures (2-8 ° C) for storage.

The above-mentioned technologies used in the production of vaccines have their advantages, thanks to which they could theoretically be effective in the fight against COVID-19. The most frequently asked question for over a year has been the date of the vaccine release to the pharmaceutical market. Despite the fact that the whole world has set itself the overriding goal of developing and implementing a vaccine as quickly as possible, we cannot “jump over” some stages. To meet today’s requirements, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) has introduced accelerated review of clinical trial results and quality procedures for COVID-19 in order to evaluate applications as quickly as possible, while ensuring sound scientific opinions and requirements for quality, safety and efficacy, as strict as for all medicinal products. I predict the first vaccines may appear in early 2021.

Literature:

  1. Nowakowska, S. Sulimiera Michalak, COVID-19 – a disease caused by infection with the sars-cov-2 virus, a global threat to public health.
  2. https://szczepienia.pzh.gov.pl/
  3. J. Mrukowicz, M.Sc., M.Sciubisz, Polish Institute of Evidence Based Medicine, Race for the vaccine against SARS-CoV-2, Great hopes and great question marks, “Practical Medicine

If you have symptoms, don’t hesitate to schedule a safe online medical consultation.

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