KEY POINTS

  • Experts predicted what the second half of the year would be like
  • A coronavirus vaccine could be available before the year ends
  • More drugs against COVID-19 could be discovered 

As the U.S. and the rest of the world reach the halfway mark of the year while dealing with a pandemic caused by COVID-19, experts presented their predictions of what the next six months will look like.

During the past couple of months, various countries, including the U.S., struggled in preventing the spread of the coronavirus. In total, about 10.5 million people have been infected by the virus since it first emerged, and it has already caused over 510,000 deaths worldwide.

Although the response to the pandemic over the past six months has been a bit rough, experts are hoping that the next half of the year will be much better. For epidemiologist Stephen Morse from the Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health and scientist Amesh Adalja of the John Hopkins University Center for Health Security, a vaccine might become available before the year ends.

According to the experts, the possible development of the vaccine will most likely be caused by a deeper understanding of the nature of COVID-19.

“I’m very reluctant to predict anything, as I never imagined the response would be so disorganized six months later,” Morse told Business Insider. “By December 30, 2020, I’m hopeful that we may have a vaccine within our grasp.”

“We’ll have an idea of the efficacy and safety of the vaccine,” Adalja added.

In addition to the possibility of having a vaccine, the two experts also noted that home testing could become widely available within the next six months. They noted that being able to test individuals at home could provide the government and medical agencies an idea of how the virus spreads within a community.

The experts also believe that other drugs that are effective in treating the symptoms of coronavirus could be discovered during the second half of the year. Currently, the most promising drug is remdesivir, which has increased the recovery rate of COVID-19 patients.

A common and cheap steroidal drug known as dexamethasone is also being eyed as an effective drug against coronavirus. Clinical trials revealed that this drug could reduce the risk of death among serious COVID-19 patients.

“It could attenuate mortality from the virus,” Adalja explained. “[Experts now have] more tools to deal with coronavirus than we did in the early days of the pandemic.”

Nurses check the intubation of a COVID-19 patient in Lima, Peru, which has topped 10,000 deaths Nurses check the intubation of a COVID-19 patient in Lima, Peru, which has topped 10,000 deaths Photo: AFP / ERNESTO BENAVIDES