Urgency and wisdom

Publish date 07-12-2020

by Valentina Turinetto

In this period of Covid-19 pandemic, still studded with many uncertainties and dramatic situations, it has often been heard that only the discovery of an effective vaccine can bring our lives back to normal.

In the history of vaccines we have witnessed very important discoveries that have actually confirmed statements like this. The introduction of a vaccine has often been an event dotted with compelling and fascinating stories.

The studies currently underway for a vaccine against Covid-19 are almost 200, a dozen of these are giving promising results and 8 are already in phase III of experimentation. Generally, the development of a vaccine proceeds slowly: phase 1 involves experimentation on animals, phase 2 evaluates the vaccine on a small group of volunteers and finally in phase 3 the effectiveness of the vaccine is evaluated on a large group of people vaccinated, compared to a similar group not vaccinated. Once the vaccine enters the market, long-term effects are monitored over the next few years.

We are facing a moment in which a careful assessment must be made of the benefits that would be generated with an available vaccine and the risks associated with an acceleration of times.

Operating with too fast timing, there is a risk of not having the possibility of clearly comparing vaccines with each other to understand which vaccine may be better than others, also depending on the age and characteristics of the recipients. Few of the vaccines under study are prepared according to the "traditional" methodologies, known and tested on numerous other vaccines; most of the vaccines developed to prevent Covid-19 infection are created with more recent molecular technologies. These considerations must emphasize the importance of proceeding at the right times.

It is important that all research on new vaccines is however carried out. This will allow over time a more complete evaluation of all the viable ways to defeat Covid-19 and it is possible that different vaccines will be obtained to be distributed on a large scale, with characteristics appropriate to the geographical areas and the economic capacities of all. the countries, not only those with an economic advantage.

Compared to the first vaccines, related to the last century, times have changed and the knowledge at our disposal leads us to operate in a scientifically guided way and with cutting-edge technologies, but it is desirable that the protagonists in the sco¬ perta of a vaccine against Covid-19 are always the observation capacity and human ingenuity and not just the profit. In designing a vaccine in the 21st century, we must recognize that the greatest challenge is finding the right balance between urgency and wisdom.

Valentina Turinetto

NP Ottobre 2020

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