What is the latest in COVID-19 vaccine advances? Can currently authorized vaccines protect against newly emerging SARS-CoV-2 variants? In this Hope Behind the Headlines feature, we examine these and other questions.
New, and possibly more contagious, variants of SARS-CoV-2 — which is the virus that causes COVID-19 — are emerging in countries around the world. Add to that the fact that the global number of COVID-19 cases is currently at over 95 million, and it can be difficult to remain optimistic that we will see the end of the pandemic anytime soon.
Yet scientists have not stopped working on vaccines, which are key to controlling the spread of the new coronavirus in the long run.
In this Hope Behind the Headlines feature, we look at what experts have to say about whether or not currently authorized vaccines are likely to protect us against new SARS-CoV-2 variants.
We also give an overview of a promising vaccine candidate currently under trial, which has recently made the headlines.
Experts have explained time and again that in order to contain SARS-CoV-2 and prevent more coronavirus outbreaks in the future, vaccines are of utmost importance.
At the moment, there are eight COVID-19 vaccines with authorization in countries around the world.
So far, the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, which is an mRNA vaccine, has gained authorization for use in 50 countries. These include the United States, the United Kingdom, and the 27 countries that make up the European Union.
The vaccine developed by Moderna and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), which is also an mRNA vaccine, is currently authorized in 36 countries. These include the U.S., the U.K., and E.U. countries.
Sputnik V, which is a viral vector vaccine developed by the Russian research institute Gamaleya, is authorized in eight countries: Algeria, Argentina, Belarus, Bolivia, Guinea, Russia, Serbia, and West Bank.
Close on its heels is the Oxford-AstraZeneca viral vector vaccine, which has gained use authorization in seven countries. These are Argentina, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, India, Mexico, Morocco, and the U.K.
Other vaccines that have gained authorization in certain countries are:
- Covishield, a viral vector vaccine authorized in India
- Covaxin, an inactivated vaccine authorized in India
- the Sinopharm vaccine, also inactivated, which is authorized in six countries, including China, Egypt, and the United Arab Emirates
- the Sinovac vaccine, also inactivated, which is authorized in China, Indonesia, and Turkey