The virus spreads easily and the majority of the world's population is still vulnerable to it.
- The vaccine will provide protection by training people's immune systems to fight the virus so they don't get sick or get severe complications
- It will also make it safer to remove territorial locks imposed around the world and reduce social distancing.
The idea of deliberately infecting all people, and then giving them the vaccine
This idea, known as problem research, would provide faster answers. But it is considered too dangerous until there is a known cure for all the side effects.
How many people need the vaccine?
It's hard to understand without knowing how effective the vaccine will be. It is believed that 60-70% of people must be immune to the virus in order to stop its easy spread - the so-called "herd" immunity. If the vaccine works great, billions of people around the world will need to be vaccinated.
How vaccines work, their consequences
- Vaccines against viruses (or even small parts of them) are harmless to the immune system
- The body's defenses recognize them as invaders and learn to fight them.
- If the body has ever been exposed to a virus, it already knows what to do. The main vaccination method for decades has been the use of the parent virus.
For example, the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine is produced using attenuated viruses that cannot cause full-blown infection. Seasonal flu takes on the main strains of the flu, making trial rounds of attack that a hardened body shuts down
The work on a new coronavirus vaccine uses new and less proven approaches called plug-and-play vaccines. Since we know the genetic code of the new coronavirus Sars-CoV-2, we have a complete scheme for its creation.
Researchers from Oxford put small pieces of their genetic code into a harmless virus that infected chimpanzees. They hope they have developed a safe virus that is similar enough to the coronavirus to trigger an immune response.
Other groups of researchers use pieces of raw genetic code (either DNA or RNA, depending on the approach), which, once injected into the body, should begin to produce pieces of viral proteins that the immune system can again learn to fight against.