COVID-19 vaccine to safely expose public to the virus


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There are actually hundreds of types of coronaviruses; all of which are categorized into different groups. In this week’s “viral thoughts” staff reporter Hailie Hughes discusses the various mutants found of the COVID-19 virus.

Kate Graham, WTV Staff Reporter

It can sometimes take years, if not decades to develop a new vaccine.

But the outbreak of COVID-19 prompted President Trump and others to launch Operation Warp Speed, a high speed process to create a vaccine for this coronavirus.

Scientists were able to create a vaccine in what seems to be record time by using new technology.

“The whole vaccination process, the way that a vaccine works, is you take a piece of the virus, not any piece that can actually infect you or get you sick in any way and you inject into somebody so that way their immune system is able to defense against it,” science teacher Richard Sabatier said. “These new vaccines are using a new technology with RNA vaccines, where you inject a piece of the RNA, which kind of like instructions for making protein, into the person and then your body actually makes a piece of the viral protein not a piece that’s infected, just a spike protein that’s used to help the virus adhere to your cells, and then your body recognizes that and goes ‘okay, I know how to fight this.’ So when you actually get exposed, your body already has a defense against it, so it’s a non-dangerous, totally safe way of being exposed to the virus without actually being exposed to the virus. And so the whole idea behind Operation Warp Speed and going quickly, that’s a good thing because we are already pretty far into the development of this RNA vaccine process, you know something that vaccines have been leaning towards over the past several years. People are concerned about ‘Oh, I don’t know, it’s been a condensed time frame,’ but at the end of the day, it’s the same way that vaccines, it’s not like they are reinventing the wheel as far as vaccines. We already know how vaccines work, we’ve been getting vaccinated for hundreds of years, if we look back even further, you know back in the colonial times, they had, not full vaccines, but a version of vaccines, this is not a new technology, the thing that’s new is just for this particular virus, so it is a safe way of ending the pandemic basically, much safer than everybody getting it.”

Ideally, the COVID-19 vaccine will help get rid of this coronavirus, but the work in producing the vaccine could also pay off down the road. 

“I think absolutely, the fact that we have that basis built of we know we can build a vaccine more quickly, we have a lot more knowledge and data on RNA vaccines, which is something that again is being developed for a while and so ‘oh wait like it works’, and 90 percent effectiveness is insane, like the flu vaccine is about 50 percent effective, and that’s a big deal but 95, that’s huge,” Sabatier said. “So we have this infrastructures in place, developing a vaccine like this in a year is impressive. The polio vaccine took much longer than a year, so having this basis to build off of we can keep on hopefully next pandemic is not for a very long time, but if something like this were to happen again, my guess not a public health professional, someone with more knowledge probably than the average person on the topic, I think that we would be able to respond pretty quickly. So it’s a good thing showing that were making big strides in vaccines in general, just for this particular virus.”