News of vaccines under development to combat the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) have provided many people with the first sense of optimism for a future beyond the pandemic, and Dr. Trushar Patel, an associate professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry and Canada Research Chair in RNA and Protein Biophysics, counts himself in that crowd.
“We should be very positive and hopeful,” says Patel. “I’m so excited because, in the next few months, we will likely have an explosion of SARS-CoV-2 vaccines. There are about 48 vaccines in Phase 1, 2 and 3 trials. We have about 160 candidates in pre-clinical trials. We are looking at about 200 vaccines at different stages of development and they use different platforms.”
As the number of COVID-19 cases continues to rise around the globe, health-care systems are being put under extreme stress. The need for effective vaccines, with enough supplies for everyone, is crucial. The response must be global, Patel says, because the virus will keep circulating in countries without a vaccine, giving it the opportunity to mutate, completely change its structure and possibly come back as a new strain of virus.