The Quest for a Vaccine

Welcome to our first installment of the Sanity Cares Blog.

We have invited Fiona Fitzgerald to share her insights and thoughts around the quest for a vaccine in response to Covid-19. An accomplished Canadian Leader of biotechnology company Cytiva, Fiona is also a key opinion leader in vaccine development technology and Board Member of CellCan a government of Canada biotech knowledge mobilization organization. 

People have been asking scientists about the COVID-19 vaccine and when we can expect a result. The great news is that governments across the world have been supporting researchers and we are seeing extraordinary collaborations across the global scientific community to make a difference in the quest.  The not so great news is that even with these amazing efforts to find a vaccine for the virus we are still 12-18 months out.

The biggest concern about a vaccine is safety.  We are likely to be asking millions of people to take this vaccine so we need to be completely sure that it is safe for everyone in the population from the youngest child to the most immunocompromised senior citizen. First do no harm” is the most important principle for researchers and doctors worldwide!  There are many steps that a potential vaccine candidate has to go through to allow it’s release.  It really is like a quest with well-defined stages, documentation, and manufacturing hurdles to overcome.  The virus enters the human body like an invader and uses our energy and biochemical systems against us.  The vaccine needs to be as special as Arthur’s sword Excaliber to be able to respond to the virus effects and stop it from proliferating in the body. It needs to do no harm to us humans. 29 groups globally are competing to be first to launch. The entire world is watching and waiting. 

While we wait for this vaccine, we need to be sure that we also do no harm in our regular lives. As the isolation rules relax, we will start coming in contact with more and more people. The potential to do harm is rising. Hand hygiene is a major part of that story. We need to be sure we do not bring the virus home to our family and protect ourselves. Proper hand-hygiene is our first line of defense and using hand sanitizer is a great way to make sure that we fend off the virus. The high alcohol content in hand sanitizer stops the virus immediately and protects us. Researchers will be successful in the quest for the vaccine, but it will take time and while we work we want to be sure our families are safe and take every step we can to defend them.   

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