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Why do we need a vaccine against SARS-CoV-2 infection?

This article gives an introduction to COVID-19 and how it began.
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COVID-19 first emerged at the end of 2019 in the Wuhan province of China. By the 11th of March 2020, the WHO Director general had declared a COVID-19 pandemic with over a million cases of COVID-19 reported worldwide. Real time information regarding the current SARS-CoV-2 infection rates across the world can be viewed here.

Less than a year into the pandemic, many parts of the world are experiencing second waves of the infection or sustained high rates of transmission and associated mortality. Public health measures being used to reduce transmission include:

  • Social distancing and ‘lockdown’ including shutting schools, closing commercial premises and restricting social movement.

  • Enhanced hand hygiene – encouraging more frequent and effective hand washing and use of sanitisers.

  • Personal protective equipment – is particularly important in health and social care settings but many countries also mandate that face masks be worn in public areas.

Despite these measures, the pandemic continues to cause profound social and economic disruption. It is widely acknowledged that an effective vaccine is likely to be critical to ending the pandemic, and several groups around the world are developing vaccines against COVID-19. However, vaccine development can be challenging and we will discuss the process in the next few steps.

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Vaccine Development: Finding a Vaccine for COVID-19 and Future Pandemics

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