U.S. President Donald Trump delivers a speech during a visit to the Fujifilm Diosynth Biotechnologies’ Innovation Center, a pharmaceutical manufacturing plant where components for a potential coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine candidate are being developed, in Morrrisville, North Carolina, U.S., July 27, 2020.
Carlos Barria | Reuters
The hunt is on for a vaccine for Covid-19, which has killed more than 600,000 people.
The current frontrunners include an mRNA vaccine from Moderna; a candidate vaccine from AstraZeneca and Oxford University; a Chinese vaccine from the military and biotech company CanSigo Biologisc; and an mRNA-based vaccine from German company BioNTech and Pfizer.
While a candidate could be approved this year, it remains to be seen whether the vaccine will confer temporary or long-term immunity, or how many doses will be required, as doubling the number of jabs could complicate worldwide immunization efforts.
But bioethicists and public health experts all agree that manufacturing doses for 8 billion people quickly is an insurmountable challenge.
So someone will have to decide who should get the vaccine first — and why.
In the United States, committees have begun to form to discuss this tricky issue. An advisory committee of external health experts is