COVID-19: the vaccine against the virus could have been ready years ago
It is not the first time that humanity faces a coronavirus and that is why in this pandemic we refer to the new coronavirus as COVID-19. In 2002 and 2012 the outbreak of the SARS and MERS-VOC coronaviruses caused serious respiratory diseases infecting 8000 and more than 1.5 million people respectively.
In both years, scientists worked hard to find a coronavirus vaccine, and several candidates emerged to be used in clinical trials. However, epidemics were controlled and studies of the coronavirus vaccine were abandoned.
Today almost 20 years later, a new coronavirus strikes more seriously than ever and the vaccine could be ready if the investigations and financing had continued in the first two outbreaks.
A team of scientists from Texas, United States, continued investigating and in 2016 had a vaccine against a coronavirus. "We had finished the trials and had gone through the critical aspect of creating a pilot scale vaccine production process," said Dr. Maria Elena Bottazzi, co-director of the National School of Tropical Medicine at the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston and co-director of the Vaccine Development Center of the Children's Hospital of Texas, in the United States.
So we went to the US National Institutes of Health and we asked them "What do we do to quickly move the vaccine to the clinic?" And they told us: "Look, now we are no longer interested"
The vaccine was against the coronavirus that caused the 2002 SARS epidemic, but since that epidemic that erupted in China had already been controlled, the researchers were never able to obtain funding. Dozens of scientists around the world abandoned their studies due to lack of interest and funds to continue research.
SARS and MERS, according to experts, were great warnings about the danger of the coronavirus and even so, efforts to continue investigating them were not continued. Experts agree that if that vaccine had been ready, much faster progress would have been made in developing a new one for future epidemics.