Right now, it feels like the coronavirus lockdown could go on forever but we will get out the other side has had the pandemic could end with the help of Science and Technology.
Some of us being in a pandemic means being stuck inside.
But for plenty of people, things are a lot worse.
People are losing their jobs, people are getting sick and dying and those people working in hospitals on the front line, they’re under a huge amount of strain.
So obviously we want this to end as soon as possible.
But how do we actually do that?
A vaccine will be our ultimate weapon in fighting the corona virus, but when will we get one?
Well, the short answer is not until next year.
Vaccines work by teaching our immune system to recognize a virus.
So it can Can fight it off in the future.
When you get a vaccine, you actually get a small amount of inactive or weakened virus.
Your immune system sees that, and then creates antibodies to fight it off.
Your body remembers how to make those antibodies.
So next time the virus comes along, your immune system knows what to do, and it’s ready to fight.
Vaccines are a game changer, but they take a long time to develop.
Firstly, you have to find the right vaccine formulation.
Then you have to send it through rounds and rounds of testing to make sure that it actually works, and that it’s safe for people to use.
And then, after all of that, which takes months and months, you then have to manufacture enough vaccine for everybody.
That’s why Dr.
Anthony Fauci says that a vaccine for Coronavirus will take 12 to 18 months.
I mean the vaccine is is as I said it’s on target.
We’re still in phase one.
There were three doses that we had a test.
We’ve been through the first two doses, we’re on the highest dose now.
When we get that data, it will take a few months to get the data that we feel confident to go to the phase two and then a few months from now we’ll be in phase two.
And I think we’re right on to the year to a year and a half.
So, what about treating the illness without a vaccine?
Well, this is where the science gets really cool.
Scientists can actually isolate the antibodies in the plasma of people who’ve recovered from COVID19 as well as in mice who’d been infected with the virus.
They can then grow those antibodies in a lab and give them to people who’ve never had the virus to help them build immunity.
And then there are drugs.
The CDC says trials for antivirals and even antimalarial medication have already started.
But don’t go stockpiling your malaria pills just yet.
These drugs can have serious side effects, and they still need to go through testing, both to test that they’re safe and that they actually work in fighting the coronavirus.
Still a treatment will come a lot quicker than a vaccine.
Okay, so what happens between now and then?
Well, the key to getting out of the street lockdown that we are in right now is contact tracing and testing.
Basically working out who has the onus and then making sure that But we can isolate them so they don’t spread it to anyone else.
There are two types of testing.
One can tell if you have the virus right now, but there’s also antibody testing that can tell if you’ve had the virus before, even if you didn’t show any symptoms that could help us identify people who’ve already recovered from the illness and who may have immunity.
Meaning that they can be out and about again.
This is going to be a certificate of immunity, if you will, where you can go back to work without worrying you could be exposed to somebody with the virus and not worry about catching it.
You can care for somebody with the virus and not catch it yourself.
Doctors have raised some concerns about these antibody tests.
For example, if they deliver false positives, But the White House says that these tests will be critical to making sure we can get a handle on the pandemic.
And finally, there’s contact tracing, essentially tracking who’s caught the virus and who they’ve been in contact with so we can isolate them.
Apple and Google are working on software that uses phone signals to warn someone if they’ve come into contact with someone else who’s tested positive In China, similar software has been used to give citizens a green, yellow or red QR code based on their supposed health.
Now, this could act kind of like a health certificate, but it also raises pretty serious concerns about privacy and surveillance.
How will this health and geo location data be secured?
How long governments use the data?
And most importantly, will enough people actually use the feature so that it works.
For their part Apple and Google said the tracking feature will be rolled out in May and will be shut down when the pandemic ends.
Okay, so with all of this in mind, how do we end the lockdown The White House has announced guidelines for how states and counties can start to loosen lockdown measures.
The guidelines as Americans who are looking on will note, begin with what is the best criteria that our experts have developed.
A downward trajectory in cases over a 14 day period of time.
Ensuring that states have proper capacity in their healthcare facilities.
It’ll come in three phases.
Phase one allows gatherings of up to ten people.
In phase two, schools can reopen and nonessential travel can resume.
And by phase three, large venues can reopen with some social distancing.
To enter each phase, states will need to show a Steady decline in new illness for 14 days.
This is good news.
But in the long-run, containing this virus is going to depend on science.
Either way, this pandemic will eventually end, it’s not forever.
And the key to getting out of it, is gonna come with the help of science and technology.