Merck Vaccines Abandoned But It’s Not All Bad News

While vaccines are being approved around the world to protect people from COVID-19, some trials are being abandoned. That’s the case for both of the vaccine candidates from drugmaker Merck. The company is focusing on working on treatments instead. While the failure of the vaccines can be seen as a bad sign, it might help people have faith in the vaccines that are hitting the market.

As vaccines against COVID-19 were released so quickly, it is understandable that some people are nervous about them. When companies such as Merck have to give up on their attempts, it helps bolster public trust for the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines that have been approved in the U.S. It shows people that bad vaccines aren’t reaching the market, and the ones being released really do work!

Merck hasn’t released their trial data yet. However, they said that people didn’t react poorly to the injections; the vaccines just didn’t stop them from getting sick. Even though the vaccines were safe, they weren’t effective enough to be useful.

We are grateful to our collaborators who worked with us on these vaccine candidates and to the volunteers in the trials,” Dr. Dean Li, the president of Merck Research Laboratories, said in a statement.

The company is working on two COVID-19 treatments. One of them is in the late stages of testing and, so far, appears to lower deaths in moderate to severely ill COVID-19 patients by 50 percent. The other is an oral antiviral drug that they are still testing and haven’t released results from. We need treatments as well as vaccines. People are still being infected at alarming rates, so treatments to help people as we get more folks vaccinated are incredibly important!

A vaccine from Johnson & Johnson seems to be poised to be the next to be released here in the U.S. They will soon publish the data from their phase three trial. Unlike the vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna, it only requires one injection, which would make it easier to get people vaccinated quickly. People won’t have to wait as long for immunity to begin. They won’t have to worry about a second dose being available, and they won’t have to remember the date of their second shot. Johnson & Johnson has committed to making 100 million doses for the U.S. That means 100 million people will be vaccinated. And they will be making a billion doses by the end of 2021 for the world.

Banner image: Hakan Nural via Unsplash
January 27, 2021
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