It is amazing how many new “expert” virologists, immunologists and vaccinologists have popped up since the COVID-19 pandemic began. Over the last few weeks I have repeatedly seen claims from such “experts” that since we don’t have a vaccine for the coronavirus that causes the common cold, we will never have one for the coronavirus that causes COVID-19. Therefore, they conclude that the current efforts and expense to make such a vaccine simply waste time and resources. That syllogism assumes that someone has tried and failed to make a vaccine to prevent the common cold.
These are the facts: Only ~30% of colds are caused by a coronavirus; rhinoviruses and adenoviruses also cause what we call a cold. Therefore, we would have to develop several vaccines against several different viruses in order to prevent colds. Since colds do not cause serious morbidity or mortality, there has been little interest in developing several different cold vaccines. Thus, the first point in the “expert” syllogism falls apart.
Second, coronavirus vaccines that effectively prevent certain diseases in animals do, in fact, exist. Therefore, it is quite possible to develop a vaccine to a novel coronavirus. This defeats the second point in the “expert” syllogism.
I am pretty certain that in a couple of years, there will be several successful CoV-2 vaccines. In fact, there is a very good chance that by the end of this year, we might very well have one or two effective vaccines. This humble blogger predicts that the biggest problem we face is not in developing an effective vaccine, but getting enough people quickly vaccinated.
On May 18, this blog reported that 133 vaccine candidates were under development around the world. Today, the Milken Institute reports that 172 vaccines are under development.