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When the SARS-CoV-2 virus responsible for the current COVID-19 pandemic broke out in the Wuhan region of China at the end of 2019, no one could have predicted its impact. By January 2020, China took unparalleled lock down measures affecting almost a billion people. When that failed to reign in the virus, the status of COVID-19 as a world-upending pandemic had all been but cemented, according to BioSpace.
The arrival of the pandemic to Europe and North America by February 2020 was followed by similar lock downs across the Western world, with varying degrees of success. To many scientists, it quickly became clear that a post-COVID-19 world would need to involve some sort of immunization effort. A significant hurdle to achieving this, though, is that the fastest a vaccine has been developed, the mumps vaccine in 1967, took four years.