The Cure for COVID-19

Scientific research and a realistic timeline for stopping the pandemic


Photo courtesy of Wiki Commons.

An illustration of COVID-19 created by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The COVID-19 pandemic has swept the globe by storm, shutting down all public gatherings and social lives of our world’s inhabitants. Scientists are urgently testing different vaccines, trying to stop the wave of casualties. However, where are scientists right now in their research for a cure, and is a vaccine in the foreseeable future?

The top 5 countries in terms of deaths along with confirmed cases (as of 5/8/2020 10am EST). (Table created by Brian Lane. Information from the World Health Organization (WHO).)

Currently, scientists around the world are conducting tests on various types of vaccines, hoping to find the right combination to stop the killing spree of COVID-19. The leading laboratory in the race to cure COVID-19 is at the University of Oxford, who had a head start on a COVID-19 cure because of research conducted in early 2019. The vaccine that is being proposed by Oxford scientists utilizes a weakened version of the common cold and additional proteins to create a vaccine.

To test the Oxford vaccine, scientists at the National Institutes of Health’s Rocky Mountain Laboratory in Montana inoculated six rhesus macaque monkeys with doses of the vaccine, who were then exposed to the virus that had sickened other monkeys in the lab. After 28 days of careful observation, the monkeys were healthy and showed no signs of suffering from COVID-19. Additional testing was also done at a Chinese lab, which resulted in the same outcome as the Rocky Mountain Laboratory- the vaccine was effective for the monkeys.

Recently, the Oxford vaccine was finally tested on humans after a successful trial with the rhesus macaque monkeys. According to the University of Oxford, 1,110 healthy trial volunteers are being used for testing, half of which receiving a control vaccine and the other half receiving the potential COVID-19 vaccine. The valuable study will show the safety of the vaccine and if it does indeed prevent COVID-19. According to CBS News, regardless of the result of the trials, the largest drug-making company, based in India, will begin to mass-produce the vaccine by next month.

Fake coronavirus cures that have been proposed since the pandemic began. (Photo by Brian Lane.)

However, since scientists are still in the testing stage for a COVID-19 cure, businesses and individuals are taking matters into their own hands, testing their own remedies and theorizing what exactly causes the virus. One of the proposed cures came from actor Keith Middlebrook, who falsely claimed to have discovered pills that could cure any victim suffering from COVID-19. It is important for people to ignore these false claims, however, and trust the intensive scientific research that is being conducted daily to cure COVID-19.

As of now, the Oxford vaccine seems to be a step in the right direction, but it will take more time for any vaccine to hit the public and stop COVID-19. More importantly, society must practice social distancing to prevent the spread and killing spree of the pandemic and allow scientists to wipe out the virus with a vaccine.