1. EXPLORATORY PHASE
Scientists have to determine the genetic sequence of the virus first.
2. PRE-CLINICAL PHASE
They will have to find ways to inactivate or heavily weaken the virus so that it can evoke a immune response without causing an infection. These vaccines will be tested on cell / tissue cultures.
3. ANIMAL STUDIES
The vaccines will be tested on animals to see if it is effective. Many vaccines do not produce the antibodies required, and will fail at this phase.
4. THREE STAGES OF HUMAN CLINICAL TRIALS
Human-trials begin from a small group of tens of individuals and gradually progressing to a large group comprising thousands of individuals, paying attention to the side effects, immune response and doses required.
5. SUBMISSION FOR APPROVAL
If all human clinical trial stages are passed, vaccine developer will submit the vaccine to the FDA for approval.
6. MASS PRODUCTION
Once approved, mass production will occur followed by mass immunisation.
7. QUALITY CONTROL
Post approval and quality control of vaccine will be carried out thereafter.
Usually the production of a vaccine may take up to 18 months (on an accelerated pace in this pandemic).
By : Dr Chen Yiming
Family Physician, MBBS (Singapore), GDFM (NUS), GDFP Dermatology (NUS)