‘It has happened before’ | Researchers tell what will happen if we fail to develop COVID-19 vaccine

Many experts have taken the possibility of ‘no vaccine’ very seriously because it has happened before. Several times.


As countries around the world lie frozen in the lockdown and millions of people are losing their livelihoods, everyone is waiting for a breakthrough that would mark the end of the coronavirus epidemic: a vaccine.

However, there is another, worse-case scenario and that would be in the possibility of having no vaccine against the Coronavirus. If that happens then instead of eliminating Covid-19, societies may rather learn to live with it.

Many experts have taken the possibility of ‘no vaccine’ very seriously because it has happened before. Several times.

A professor of global health at Imperial College London, Dr. David Nabarro, told CNN, “There are some viruses that we still do not have vaccines against. We cannot make an absolute statement that a vaccine will be developed and it will pass all the tests of efficiency and protection.

Nabarro added, “It’s undeniably important that all societies everywhere get into a position where they can protect themselves against the coronavirus as a continuous threat.”

Most experts remain confident that a Covid-19 vaccine will be developed within 18 months because, unlike previous diseases like malaria and HIV, the coronavirus does not mutate promptly.

The Dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Dr. Peter Hotez, said, “We have never developed a vaccine in a year to 18 months. It does not mean it is impossible, but it will be quite a historic success. We need plan A and a plan B.”

What is Plan B

If the same fate befalls a Covid-19 vaccine-like HIV and malaria, the virus could remain with us for many years. However, the medical response to the previous viruses still provides a strategy for living with a disease we cannot eradicate.

Several treatments are  being tested for Covid-19, as scientists seek for a Plan B in parallel to the continuing vaccine tests, but all of those trials are in very early phases. Scientists are looking at experimental anti-Ebola drug redeliver, while blood plasma treatments are also being examined.

What life without a vaccine looks like?


If a vaccine cannot be developed, life will not remain as it is now. It just might not go back to being life as usual that quickly.

The lockdown is not sustainable economically and probably not politically so we need other things to control the situation. It means as countries start to creep out of their lockdowns, experts would urge governments to implement a new way of living and interacting to buy the world time in the months, years, or decades until Covid-19 can be eradicated through a vaccine.

Experts have also predicted a constant change in attitudes towards distant working, with working from home, at least on some days, will become a standard way of life for many people. Companies would be expected to shift their routines so that offices are never full unnecessarily.

According to an expert, “If there is an insignificant transmission of the virus, it may be possible to open things up for the sports events and other huge functions. Restaurants will be opened with social distancing.”

However, all of these predictions are tempered by a common belief that a vaccine will, eventually, be produced.

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