Contrary to Dr Trump’s opinion, the coronavirus will not just ‘disappear’

One or more efficacious covid-19 vaccines will be necessary to defeat the current pandemic, in the view of a leading Australian virologist.

That virologist is one Professor William Rawlinson, who spoke about the need for a vaccine during an interview with Tracy Grimshaw on A Current Affair. He said scientists have had their noses to the grindstone all year, working round the clock to come up with a coronavirus vaccine.

“Population scientists and public health physicians and vaccine technologists have been working really since January, February this year to develop these,” Rawlinson said.

The speed with which the scientific community has progressed toward a vaccine is striking, especially considering that health experts were warning in the spring that a vaccine was likely 18 months away. Instead, it seems we’ll have one by the beginning of next year, possibly sooner.

Earlier this month it was reported that the UK government has committed to buying 340 million doses of six experimental vaccines. There is also a promising vaccine being developed by Oxford University that US President Donald Trump–who has repeatedly asserted that covid-19 will magically vanish one of these days–is reportedly considering giving an “emergency use authorization.”

A major factor allowing for this warp speed was the previous efforts to develop a vaccine for SARS, another type of coronavirus that shares characteristics with covid-19. Because SARS disappeared of its own volition, a vaccine was never completed. But valuable data was nevertheless produced during the early trials.

“That vaccine was never taken fully to a population,” Rawlinson explained. “There was some very good early information available from a number of what we call phase two studies and by the time they were planning for phase three studies there were no more cases.

“So really the reason for doing it died out which was great of course because SARS COVID-1, the original SARS disappeared. What that did allow us to have is a lot of information that then provided data that could be used for SARS COVID-2, so we actually got a bit of a head start.”

He went on to add that “it’s unlikely” that the covid-19 pandemic will go away without effectual vaccines.