What $20 COVID-19 vaccine means for you and me

6 min read
Pfizer's deal with US caps price per shot, but how much will the rest of the world pay?
Image Credit: Gulf News

Highlights In 1796, when Edward Jenner first gave the smallpox vaccine to an 8-year-old boy, the technique used was rather crude. But it worked.

Today, in the face of COVID-19, scientists are working in 6 continents to develop a vaccine.

The $20 price Pfizer announced for their COVID-19 shot could set the cap for the rest of the world.

Indian, Chinese and Brazilian manufacturers could make per-unit price even cheaper.

"Micro-factory" technology solution for a new breed of vaccines could potentially disrupt the entire vaccine industry.

DUBAI: Vaccines are a hard-won progress in scientific knowledge of how our own internal defense system works.

It sort of started in 1796, when English physician Edward Jenner first gave the smallpox shot to an 8-year-old boy. The technique used was rather crude. But it worked. Thus evolved the science of immunology.

Today, given the near-eradication of polio and measles, the value of vaccines has never been felt more acutely.

Mass immunisation, via the so-called "pentavalent" (5-in-1) shots, have protected children from major infectious diseases. New vaccines also help protect against Ebola and cervical cancer – among others.

With the global COVID-19 contagion, there's an urgent effort to deploy safe and effective shots rapidly, equitably, and at a massive scale.

How and when can this happen?

Various forecasts give a general timeline: Between end-2020 (as early as September-October) till mid-2021, a successful vaccine could become widely available.

Most of the vaccine development projects on six continents are progressing on a fast-track mode.

What's the definite time a good vaccine would be approved?

The Chinese government has already approved the COVID-19 vaccine for military use.

As for Oxford's vaccine, the aim is to get millions of doses vaccine out — before the end of 2020 — even while waiting for final phase of the trial (Phase-III) results and final government approval.

Jay Hilotin, Senior Assistant Editor
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