Throughout recent history, vaccines represent the most impactful public health advance, helping to prevent the spread of infectious diseases and, in many places, eliminating some of the most devastating conditions. As communities around the world continue to grapple with the impact of COVID-19, vaccines and what they can do for human health have once again come to the forefront as a critical health care tool.
Much attention has been given to the speed at which biopharmaceutical researchers worked to identify and develop safe and effective vaccines against the coronavirus. The first clinical trial for a potential vaccine identified by a biopharmaceutical company was initiated less than three months after the first reported case. As of February 27, 2021, three vaccines have received emergency use authorizations (EUAs) from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Additional candidates under investigation have also demonstrated promising clinical results.
Behind this rapid progress are advances in technology and understanding about the nature of the immune system, which have allowed us to more rapidly respond to the current pandemic compared to previous episodes.