More than 50 organisations around the world are racing to develop Covid-19 vaccines with some taking a traditional approach and others experimenting with cutting-edge science.
One of New Zealand’s leading vaccinologists says not all developments will get across the line but a number are likely to succeed.
In Melbourne, a highly secure lab is about to start animal trials and in China and the US, volunteers are now part of the development of a Covid-19 vaccine.
It’s a highly complex process that New Zealand’s own vaccinologists are closesly monitoring, impressed by global collaboration sparked by China’s release of Covid-19’s genetic code.
“Labs that were working on one thing said 'right we're stopping, we're going to work on this now and diverted their attention' - that was quite phenomenal to see,” says vaccinologist, Helen Petousis-Harris.
New vaccine technology uses part of Covid-19’s genetic code, which prompts the body into producing a protein that replicates the outer spike of Covid-19.
This newly-produced protein triggers antibody production to fight the virus.
A different type of vaccine introduces a different virus, carrying the genetic instructions for the Covid-19 outer spike.
It tricks the body into thinking it’s coronavirus, triggering antibodies in the process.
But a fully tested vaccine is not expected for at least 12 months, with a global roll-out taking more time.