Jessica Sarrach ‘24, News Editor
In March of 2020, a global pandemic struck America. The virus was deadly, with a fatality rate of 3.4 percent for those who caught it. The fatal virus produced a clear need for a vaccine, and ever since its initial spread, the search has been undying.
While the search for a continues, some old drugs are being examined for possible new usage to combat the deadly disease. One of the most promising drugs—that was even used to treat President Trump—is remdesivir. The drug remdesivir is an antiviral drug originally designed to combat Ebola virus. The drug, in its study, has shown an increase in recovery time of up to seven days.
Another promising vaccine is that of Bacille Calmette-Guerin (BCG). This is the vaccine administered to babies to prevent tuberculosis. Dr. John Campbell, an infectious disease specialist, said, “BCG has been shown to boost immunity in a generalized way, which may offer some protection against COVID-19.” Though this vaccine may not be able to completely cure coronavirus, it offers an immune boost which can help patients remain alive until a real cure can be reached.
One drug that’s showing promise for aiding the health of patients in the pandemic is hydroxychloroquine. The original usage of hydroxychloroquine was to combat symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, and malaria, although it is said that it offers properties that could help combat those of COVID-19. The Brazilian president strongly believes in the properties this drug has to offer, and feels it went far in aiding him in his own recovery.
Some companies are looking into completely new experimental drugs in hopes of a cure. One primarily American company, Johnson & Johnson, seemed to be getting close, before their research was brought to a halt when a volunteer got sick. The study was showing some optimistic results, but had to be immediately paused when one of their volunteers came down with an unexplained illness. This is setting the company back in the venture for a cure, and increasing the public’s feelings of uncertainty regarding the timeline of a vaccine.
With the threat of an illness coming from the company’s trial, Johnson & Johnson released a statement which said, “Following our guidelines, the participant’s illness is being reviewed and evaluated by the Ensemble independent Data Safety Monitoring Board (DSMB) as well as our internal clinical and safety physicians.” The company’s experimental results show how far off organizations truly are from finding a vaccine. There is hope that the company will handle the situation appropriately, and get back to their search for the vaccine. But with so much uncertainty, it is hard to tell when they will get back to stable ground for research, or if they will be able to fix their trial in a safe manner.
While examining the science that goes behind the vaccine, it’s important to gage how the community feels in response to the trials. Freshman Mackenzie Csapo said, “I’m really anxious for life to get back to the way it used to be, though none of the trials look very promising. I hope we can get some sense of normality back.” Many people, high school students especially, feel like they’re missing out on the benchmarks of life, and are relying on a vaccine to fix the situation.
With all the promising possibilities, the World Health Organization’s Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network predicts that we will not see a vaccine until the end of 2021. With delays such as safety, efficiency, and production speed, there are still many steps that need to be taken before the world may see a cure for COVID-19.