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EMU Dr. Fazıl Küçük Medicine Faculty Released a Statement on Work Regarding Covid-19 Vaccine

EMU Dr. Fazıl Küçük Medicine Faculty Released a Statement on Work Regarding Covid-19 Vaccine
Published Date: Thursday, 10 September 2020

Eastern Mediterranean University (EMU) Dr. Fazıl Küçük Medicine Faculty Vice Dean Asst. Prof. Dr. Mümtaz Güran Answered Questions About COVID-19 Vaccine Process:

What İs The Current Situation Regarding The COVID-19 Vaccine?

Various Research On Vaccination To Ensure Effective İmmunity Against Sars-Cov-2 Virus Were İmmediately İnitiated After The Extent Of The Epidemic Was Understood. More Than 10 Countries, İncluding Turkey, Have Participated İn The Said Study And Currently 173 Different Projects Are Being Carried Out İn These Countries. 33 Of The Ongoing Vaccine Research Studies Have Already Entered The Clinical Trial Phase And The Effectiveness Of These Vaccines Has Started To Be Tested On Humans. These Vaccines Aim To Neutralize The Virus Through Different Strategies.

When We Look At The Stages Of Vaccine Development Studies, We Observe That They Are Carried Out İn Three Phases İn Which Healthy Volunteers Participate And The Effects Of The Vaccine On These Volunteers Are Observed. Whilst Tens Of People Are İncluded İn The Said Research During The First Phase, Hundreds Of People İn The Second Phase And Thousands İn The Third Phase Are İnvolved İn The Studies. In The Last Phase, İn Which Thousands Of People Participate, Different Age Groups Are İncluded, Such As İndividuals With Health Problems And Pregnant Women, İn Order To Represent The General Structure Of The Society.

These Three Phases, İn Which The Possible Efficacy And Safety Of The Vaccine Are Tested, Constitute The Most Critical Part Of Vaccine Research Studies. Since Healthy İndividuals Are Expected To Be İnfected With The Virus During This Test Process, Applying These Phases Can Take A Long Time. While This Transmission İs Not Done İntentionally For Ethical Reasons, İt İs Expected To Occur Spontaneously. There Are Only Five Vaccine Studies That Have Gone İnto The Third Phase With The Participation Of Thousands Of Volunteers To Develop Vaccines Worldwide.

When Do We Expect The Vaccine To Be Ready?

Many Countries Around The World Have Started Research To Develop A Vaccine Against Covid-19, And Some Of These Research Have Been Reported To Have Made Good Progress. However, We Can Foresee That Effective Vaccination Will Not Begin Before The Beginning Of The Coming Year. Before Starting Vaccination, We Must Look At The Structure Of The Society And Make Sure That  Necessary Precautions Have Been Taken To Ensure That Vaccination İs Safe And Effective. In Research Conducted To Date, No Failure Has Been Noted İn Terms Of Safety And İmmune Activation Among Vaccines That Have Passed To The Third Phase. Therefore, We Can Say That There İs No Reason For Disappointment.

For The Development Of A Vaccine Against COVID-19, A Period Of 18-24 Months Was Set Earlier At The Beginning Of The Vaccine Finding Process. However, We Currently Foresee That This Period May Be Shorter İn The Light Of The Research. The Shortening Of This Process İs Due To The Contribution Of Many Groups To The Vaccine Research Due To The Current Pandemic. As A Result, Given The Positive Developments, I Am Hopeful That An Effective Vaccine Will Be Found Soon.

What Kind Of Life Awaits Us After The Development Of The Vaccine?

There Are Positive Developments Supporting The Development Of An Effective Vaccine Against Sars-Cov-2 Virus. We Can Describe This Vaccine As "A Light At The End Of The Tunnel". However, Even İf An Effective Vaccine İs Found And The Society Has Been İmmunized, This Vaccine May Protect People From Death, But May Be İnsufficient To Prevent Transmission. That İs, Even İf The İndividual Has Been Vaccinated, They Can Take The Virus From An İnfected İndividual And Spread İt To Other Susceptible İndividuals. For This Reason, As İn Today's Conditions, We May Have To Maintain Social Distance And Continue Our Habit Of Wearing A Mask Even İf We Have Been Vaccinated.

What Can Be Said For The Vaccine Found By Russia?

Everyone Was Very Excited On Russia’s Announcement Stating That The Vaccine "Has Passed All The Necessary Tests And Thus, Been Registered ". This İs Because Finding A Vaccine May Be The Turning Point Of The Pandemic Process. However, Until The Scientific Results Recorded About The Vaccine Are Shared With Us, İt İs Not Possible To Make A Definite Judgment On The Effectiveness Of The Vaccine. There Are Many İmportant Criterion İn The Development Of The Vaccine. That İs To Say, Different Questions Such As Whether The Vaccine Will Be Administered To All Ages, The Period Of İts Effectiveness And How Long İt Lasts, One Or More Doses To Be Administered, İts Applicability To İndividuals İn The Risk Group, İts Economic Dimension, And İts Large Scale Production Capacity Should Be Answered And, Of Course, Supported With Scientific Data.

Of Course, The Development Of The Vaccine İn A Short Time İs A Success That Cannot Be İgnored. However, İt İs İmportant That The Scientific Research And The Successful Completion Of The Phases Of The Vaccination Process That Will Cast No Shadow About The Efficacy And Safety That May Arise From İts Availability İn A Short Time Are All Satisfactory. Russia's Announcement That İt Has Developed The Vaccine May İncrease Motivation And Speed Up The Vaccine Research İn Other Countries. I Hope This Competition Will Not İnterfere With The Number, Scope And Quality Of Scientific Tests Conducted İn The Vaccine Development Process. Unscientific Efforts To Develop A Vaccine May Not Only Disappoint Us, But May Also Yield Harmful Effects İf The Reliability Of The Vaccine İs Not Fully Established.

If A Safe And Effective Vaccine İs Found, Another Question That Needs To Be Answered After İts Protection Rate Has Been Determined İs, While There Are 4-8 Billion People On Average To Be Vaccinated, How Will This Vaccine Be Produced On An İndustrial Scale? Considering The Economic Dimension Of This Production, Who Will Finance İt, Whether İt İs Possible To Produce Sufficient Amount To All Countries, How İt Will Be Shared, Logistics Distribution, Correct Application When İt Reaches The Target Audience Are The Parameters That Affect The Vaccine Availability And The Duration Of Use. This Leads To The Result That This Process Will Take 1-2 Years From The Most Optimistic Point Of View.