The coronavirus has floor social, financial, and academic exchanges to a halt world wide. For now, public well being officers are counting on instruments like social distancing to attenuate the hurt of the virus, however in the long run, a COVID-19 vaccine is the most effective hope of a return to normalcy.

It normally takes a few years to develop a vaccine, however within the face of the coronavirus, biotechnology firms and regulatory companies are taking aggressive steps to make a COVID-19 vaccine extensively obtainable prior to that.

I study biomanufacturing and synthetic biology, and it’s fascinating to observe this unprecedented effort push on the limits of vaccine growth. Private and non-private labs world wide are pursuing cutting-edge vaccine engineering methods which have by no means been examined on such a big scale. If these efforts succeed, the vaccine would develop into a necessary software to battle or stop future COVID epidemics.

How vaccines work

The primary time the physique is uncovered to a brand new virus, it takes weeks to build antibodies and other defense mechanisms that may battle it off. This provides the virus loads of time to copy and make somebody sick.

Nonetheless, the immune system has reminiscence. If it has encountered a virus earlier than, the physique can shortly deploy its defenses in opposition to the invader and neutralize the virus earlier than a full an infection develops.

Learn: [This puzzle game lets you help create a coronavirus vaccine]

That is the thought behind vaccines: give the physique a chance to construct defenses in opposition to a virus it could encounter sooner or later. Not all vaccines produce the same level of immunological preparedness – the stronger the preliminary immune response, the higher the vaccine – however some preparation is best than none.