Modern Vaccine Development
Sean Soden | Writer
COVID-19 was an immense problem across the world when the virus first broke out in early 2020. More recently, a new threat has emerged in monkeypox. Both are serious viral infections but have provided an interesting perspective on the medical field’s development of vaccines. To understand how this is the case, knowing what each virus does is important.
Understanding the transmission methods and symptoms of both viruses is the most important part of vaccine development. COVID-19 is transmitted through the air in small droplets, while monkeypox is spread through close contact. This makes monkeypox much less contagious, while having far less deadly symptoms than COVID-19. Monkeypox is identified by a harsh rash on the face, extremities, and genitals as well as fever and fatigue. COVID-19 shares some symptoms such as fatigue and fever, but also includes cough, muscle ache, loss of taste and smell, and increasingly worse symptoms for the immunocompromised. These details help medical workers assess how they can develop vaccinations to combat each virus.
COVID-19 was discovered in late 2019 when the first case was documented, which is very recent compared to the discovery of monkeypox in 1958. The vaccination process for COVID-19 happened very quickly due to the urgency of needing a vaccine to combat the virus. Deaths for COVID-19 were extremely high, even today the numbers continue to be in the hundreds of thousands. Even with the vaccine development being the top priority, it still took a full year to develop a vaccine due to lack of information and trial and error during development. Monkeypox, however, was treated relatively easily because of decades of awareness and knowledge on the virus. Today monkeypox is treated with the vaccine JYNNEOS, which was used to combat smallpox, so developing a modern version was a quicker process.
Having knowledge on viruses and diseases is crucial. The processes used to create the COVID-19 vaccine in 2020 are integral to creating vaccines for new strands today.