Traditionally, the science magazine, one of the most renowned in the world, lists the most important scientific discoveries of the year every December.
And in 2020 the elected – or rather the elected – were vaccines against Covid-19, as it couldn’t be otherwise. The combined efforts of multiple researchers, laboratories, health professionals, epidemiologists, public health institutes and governments themselves, as well as the resources devoted to research and development of a vaccine to end the pandemic, have led to this further scientific achievement.
Not only was a vaccine ready in record time, but in some cases there was novelty in the technologies used in the search for vaccines, such as those from Pfizer / BioNTech and Moderna. For the first time in the world, RNA vaccines were made that were found to be very effective (at rates over 90%) and deployed in the population in a short period of time.
On December 31, 2019, China first reported cases of pneumonia to the World Health Organization for no clear reason in the country. A few days later, in early January, the cause of the disease was identified, a new coronavirus named after Sars-CoV-2.
From there, the whole world turned to the virus and its devastating potential. On December 3rd, we hit 1.5 million deaths from Covid-19 on the planet.
Field hospitals were installed, drugs and therapies to support inpatients were examined, and health recommendations such as wearing masks and social distancing were incorporated into the daily lives of the entire population.
At the same time, laboratories and research institutes began working on an effective and safe vaccine that could prevent infection by the virus and decimate the pandemic.
It is true that we do not yet know which vaccines can prevent the chain of transmission of the virus as all vaccines that are in the final stages of clinical trials or already approved for emergency use are doing well in preventing and developing serious diseases have symptoms, but its effect in asymptomatic people is still uncertain.
Anyway, several countries in the world are now focusing on the real-world possibility of receiving doses of an immunizer – the next, in addition to the Pfizer vaccine already approved, are from Moderna, Oxford / AstraZeneca, Janssen, Sputnik V, and Coronavac – for at least the first quarter of 2021.
The study and development of vaccines could be accelerated, thanks to the contribution of resources and earlier years of study, by creating technological platforms and building laboratories and mega-factories for the production of vaccines.
With the advent of a new pathogen, the ready-made formulas of some vaccines, as in the case of Oxford / AstraZeneca, which had been studied to contain the Sars and Mers epidemics, only had to contain the genetic material of the virus replaced by the new coronavirus.
This technology and knowledge of genetic engineering was only possible thanks to the high investments in biotechnology over the past two decades.
In an editorial comment on the science article, Holden Thorp, editor-in-chief of the group’s magazines, said the discovery was “a triumph for all of science.” “Not only immunologists, vaccinologists, epidemiologists and doctors should celebrate. The commitment to find the truth, to improve the human condition, and to document all of this for posterity is common to all branches of science, and these principles provided that moment. While astrophysicists may not have directly contributed to the development of a vaccine against Covid-19, they are part of the ecosystem that made it possible. “
Although the scientific discovery of the year is vaccines against Covid-19, the challenges and barriers to ending and ending the pandemic remain. With the political controversy over vaccines and some government officials defying scientific evidence, the proportion of the population claiming not to be vaccinated is growing.
According to the article, public reluctance to get vaccinated, coupled with logistical difficulties such as the lack of syringes and even their storage, may further plague ambitious plans to reach the “other side of the mountain”. Serious Adverse Effects that Still Need to be monitored for several months and may occur halfway through.
Even so, the news of the vaccine’s arrival is auspicious and a great way to end the year.
“The normal will not return for a long time. But in the months ahead, as vaccines get approved and loom on the horizon, we may finally be able to answer the question: When does this all end? “Concludes the editorial.