UK Vaccine Taskforce Chair Kate Bingham said on Tuesday that the first generation of COVID-19 vaccines “is likely to be imperfect” and that they “might not work for everyone”.
She, however, also said that they are still not sure whether they will ever have a vaccine at all and said it’s important to guard against complacency and over-optimism.
This was in a piece published in The Lancet medical journal.
Bingham wrote that the Vaccine Taskforce recognises that “many, and possibly all, of these vaccines could fail”, adding the focus has been on vaccines that are expected to elicit immune responses in the population older than 65 years.
She also felt that the global manufacturing capacity for vaccines was largely inadequate for the billions of doses that would eventually be needed, emphasising upon UK’s scarce capacity.
Earlier on Tuesday, a study by scientists at Imperial College London found that antibodies against the novel coronavirus declined rapidly in the British population during the summer, suggesting protection after infection may not be long lasting and raising the prospect of waning immunity in the community.
Globally, the coronavirus has infected more than 4.39 crore people, with the death toll beyond the 11 lakh mark. India’s coronavirus tally has also gone beyond the 79 lakh mark.
Bingham also added that the taskforce’s strategy has been to build a diverse to ensure “the greatest chance of providing a safe and effective vaccine, recognising that many, and possibly all, of these vaccines could fail”.
She emphasised that “There will not be one successful vaccine, or one single country, that is able to supply the world. We urgently need international cooperation to pool risks and costs, address barriers to access, and scale up the manufacturing capacity to produce sufficient doses to protect everyone at risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection globally.
The SARS-CoV-2 virus is likely to evolve, and other zoonotic pathogens are likely to pose future risks. China, Europe, the USA, and the UK need to work together. If we establish international collaboration right now, then we will be better prepared to control future pandemics without causing the largest global recession in history and the biggest threat to lives in living memory.”
In India, Hyderabad-based firm Bharat Biotech has said that its coronavirus vaccine candidate, Covaxin, is likely to be ready for launch by June. The firm received go-ahead for phase 3 clinical trials last week.