Leaders of Skeptical Health Technology for Corona Vaccine Will Be Available Next Year

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Bisnis.com, JAKARTA – Leaders in the health technology industry are skeptical that the new corona virus vaccine or Covid-19 will be available in 2021.

This is one of the points of the latest Healthcare Prognosis Report, an annual survey of 300 people from the health technology industry published by a venture capital company called Venrock.

Venrock decided to conduct three surveys over 8 weeks to get accurate information about how industry leaders view the corona pandemic and to map their perspectives.

The first survey was conducted at the end of February, right when the first corona case was discovered in the United States. The second survey was conducted 4 weeks later, when the US had around 1,500 fatalities due to pandemic disease.

In the second survey, almost half of the respondents also believed that the vaccine would be widely available by 2021. However, when the third survey was conducted in April, optimism about the availability of this vaccine was reduced.

Although when the survey was conducted as many as 90 vaccine candidates were under development and 7 of them had entered the first phase of the trial, only 31 percent of respondents were optimistic that the vaccine would be available within a similar deadline. The rest, 69 percent are pessimistic.

Bryan Roberts, a partner at Venrock who has a portfolio of health technology companies such as 10X Genomics, Dedicated Health, Doctor on Demand, and Lyra Health, said people who took the survey found that quick innovations for vaccines were difficult.

“I think between surveys two and three it becomes clear that there is no silver bullet that can be taken and is an extraordinary therapy. I think the same thing applies to vaccines, “he said as quoted by Fastcompany, Tuesday (06/02/2020).

Given the biomedical challenges, there is also no guarantee that vaccine candidates will succeed. A study found that over a span of 20 years, on average vaccines only had a 6 percent chance of being marketed.

For example, HIV disease that still does not have a vaccine after 30 years is a popular disease in the United States. The vaccine has not been found even though this disease has many supporting treatments.

Development is not the only complicated aspect of making vaccines that can be used by many people. Building vaccine production facilities also takes years. Companies that are developing vaccines must quickly discuss how to scale manufacturing infrastructure for candidates who are still in the early stages of development.

Even with such a time line, it still takes a long time before the vaccine is truly available to the public. However, at present various companies, philanthropists, and governments continue to work to increase vaccine discharges and manufacturing readiness quickly.

Moderna, a company with an mRNA vaccine that is in the clinical trial phase, said that they were optimistic that they would have tens of millions of doses by 2021. Johnson & Johnson also announced a partnership with manufacturers to supply 1 billion doses of the proposed vaccine.

Meanwhile, the Venrock survey is less an indicator of when a vaccine or appropriate treatment for Covid-19 will actually be available and become the people’s expectation. The survey also shows which areas may be invested, such as big data platforms and home care.

Covid-19 pandemics and social distance restrictions have encouraged patients to consult online, away from doctors and use video sessions and text chats with health professionals. Survey respondents stated that this concept will continue until the vaccine is available.

While the big data field has become very potential because there is still much to be learned about this new virus. This virus highlights the importance of more open data in health care.

One of the reasons biomedical companies have been able to develop vaccines and drugs for this disease is because Chinese researchers sequenced the corona virus genome and published their findings since the beginning of the outbreak.

This process of sharing scientific findings quickly has enabled researchers around the world to work on developing drugs to fight the virus. Medical research is often distributed through web publications and centers but some are published in each company’s data center.

There is no single platform that researchers can easily access to search and analyze all past research. this is also a challenge in terms of biomedical innovation. Companies that use artificial intelligence to find drugs must have thought about how to collect and utilize big data.

However, in relation to this survey, it is important to remember that investors and technology experts are not forecasters. There are still other possibilities that can occur in every development, including for the Covid-19 vaccine.

Bisnis Indonesia, together with 3 media, raised funds to help medical staff and residents affected by the corona virus channeled through the Indonesian Food Storage Foundation (BNI Account: 200-5202-055).
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