COVID-19 Vaccine: Research Should Lead The Charge
Dr Solomon Chollom,
Research must take the lead in current issues arising from vaccines and vaccination. To this end, the burden of resolving current challenges on vaccines rests squarely on scientists to generate verifiable data to guide health policy and discussion
The importance of research in vaccine cannot be over emphasized. This is because vaccine in itself is a product of research just as drugs, test kits and other medical devices
To start with, vaccine development comes through a rigorous research process that begins with antigenic surveillance, vaccine seed selection and biological manipulation of vaccine seed, formulation and packaging into a biological product. These are research-dependent activities geared toward generation of data and evidence that is scientifically valid
Further in the process are clinical trials. These are research-tailored activities geared towards establishing safety, effectiveness and potency threshold data for the vaccine.
The formulated product is scientifically explored for safety data first from outside the host and then subsequently inside the host. Data generated during clinical trial determines if the product will be sent to regulating agencies for approval. Where the data is not satisfactory, the manufacturer will be guided and return to the laboratory for more work on his formula
Lastly, vaccine research does not stop after a vaccine has been approved or introduced. Manufacturers must keep tab on feedback from vaccinated population, logistic challenges and dynamics of the microbe the vaccine was meant for to explore possibility of remote mutation.
When feedback from vaccinated populated shows untoward reactions or declined potency, there has to be thorough and rigorous research to investigate and address. When such claims are valid and stand a chance of devaluing the product, manufacturers must use the data to correct their formula.
Similarly, if there are issues with altered genetics of the microbial agents, research will come handy to investigate genetic and antigenic mismatches. Where the emerging mutation points to data that downgrades the efficacy of the vaccine, manufacturers return to the laboratory to upgrade their formula for greater effectiveness.
In view of the above research serves as light on the path of vaccine development, platform for generation of data and arbiter for validation of truth and diffusing of controversies