The initiative promoted by the WHO, ACT Accelerator, works so that all the nations that are part of it have access to a safe vaccine against the coronavirus
The fight to get a vaccine that ends the covid-19 has become the new world struggle. A competition in which the winner does not matter if not the time it takes to cross the finish line. Since the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the coronavirus outbreak pandemic Globally, the goal of the research industry has become a safe solution to inoculate the virus. Different agents participate in this race. According to the WHO, they are 187 vaccines are being investigated and more than 40 are in a clinical phase, the last stage before approval consisting of human testing.
“The development of a vaccine normally takes between eight and 10 years”, States the director of the Technical Department of Farmaindustria, Emili Esteve. “Now the efforts are multiplying to reduce these times a lot”, underlines Esteve. The magnitude of this global pandemic makes finding a solution an urgent necessity. That is why the pharmaceutical industry is working with researchers, health authorities, regulatory agencies, and funding agencies to accelerate this process.
That there are vaccines in the investigation phase three “It means that in a few months the authorities will be able to evaluate all the evidence that the pharmaceutical companies have collected,” explains Esteve. Within the research process, in the first phase the vaccine is developed in the laboratory, the second is based on tests with animals and the third consists of tests with a population sample.
Once the safety and efficacy trials of any of the vaccines have been passed, the pharmaceutical companies have committed to making these treatments have a affordable price and are equitably available worldwide. This is the commitment expressed since the beginning of the pandemic by the International Federation of the Pharmaceutical Industry (Ifpma), an entity that represents innovative pharmaceutical companies around the world, such as Farmaindustria.
First vaccine, early 2021
Much has been speculated about the date on which the vaccine can begin to be applied that manages to be approved by the competent authorities. In mid-October, the Minister of Health of the Government, Salvador Illa acknowledged that “very dark” days are aheadBut he did not rule out the possibility of having a vaccine by Christmas or at the beginning of the year. In fact, Illa predicted that Europe will have a total of 30 million vaccines in that period, of which three million will be for Spain.
The Minister of Health predicted that Europe will have 30 million vaccines at the beginning of 2021
A forecast that coincides, in part, with the opinion of the WHO chief scientist, Soumya Swaminathan, who anticipated that the results of phase three could be ready early next year, after which the regulations for the approval of the drug will have to be met.
However, Swaminathan, under a prudent view, stressed that “things will not return to normal on January 1 ”since“ nobody has ever produced vaccines in the volumes that will be needed, so in 2021 we hope to have vaccines, but in a limited quantity ”. In fact, the WHO scientist insisted that “a young and healthy person will have to wait until 2022 in order to be vaccinated ”.
In order to accelerate the development of the vaccine, the actors involved in the process seek to expand their manufacturing capabilities. To do this, many of the companies with the capacity to produce vaccines have begun to manufacture at risk. This means that to have a vaccine available to the public immediately after approval, manufacturers are expanding production facilities and have started manufacturing even before they have regulatory approval for their vaccine. This is a great financial risk, but companies are aware of the importance of ensuring that vaccines are accessible to all citizens and patients who need them.
Accelerate large-scale development
In April 2020, the WHO, with the support of various world leaders, launched an initiative to accelerate the development and large-scale manufacturing of vaccines and treatments, once proven safety and effectiveness, so that all nations, particularly those that need it most, can have access. The initiative is called ‘Access to covid-19 tools (ACT) Accelerator’ and part of it, in addition to WHO, organizations such as Ifpma, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Coalition for Innovations in Preparedness for Epidemics (CEPI), the GAVI Alliance for Vaccines, the Global Fund, UNITAID, the Welcome Trust, the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement (IFRC), the Developing Countries Vaccine Manufacturers Network (DCVMN) and the International Generic and Biosimilar Medicines Association (IGBA), and the main governments of Europe, Latin America, Africa and Asia.
The goal is for vaccines to reach, at least, 172 countries, representing 70% of the population
The main objective of ACT Accelerator is that the vaccines, once they are approved, reach all the countries of this consortium, that is, 172 countries representing 70% of the world’s population. Initially, priority will be given to health workers and later they will reach the most vulnerable groups to the virus, such as older people and people with pre-existing conditions. Then, other doses will be made available depending on the needs, vulnerability and threat of covid-19 in each country.
As explained by the director of the Center for Vaccines and Immunology at the University of Georgia, Ted Ross, in the American environment The New York Times, “It is possible that the first vaccines are not the most effective.” That is, they may offer moderate protection, low enough to keep wearing masks. But what the experts say is that speed will not come before safety. From the European Federation of the Pharmaceutical Industry (Efpia), they affirm that no type of vaccine will be given to a patient without having solid evidence that the vaccine is safe and the health authorities have previously approved its use after verifying its safety level.