Coronaviruses Part 1

60 years of history

When human coronaviruses were first studied in a laboratory in the 1960s the distinctive spikey appearance looked, to scientists, like the crown shaped outer atmosphere of the sun known as the corona. [i]

Studies of the virus in the 60s and 80s showed that some people had antibodies against coronavirus, suggesting that the virus had already been circulating in humans. However, the usual mild symptoms of infection with coronaviruses in the 20th century meant the spread was undetected.

It wasn’t until 2003 that a new coronavirus that caused Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV-1 or SARS), that the virus started to behave differently. In some people the disease was severe. It spread to 29 countries and infected 8096 people, of which 774 died, accounting for about 10% of those infected.[ii] The virus was contained with concerted efforts and by 2004 there were no further cases reported.

In the last ten years there have been more coronavirus cases. In 2012, the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV or MERS) emerged in Saudi Arabia. While not highly transmissible like other coronaviruses, it caused the death of about 35% of those infected. Between 2012 and 2021, there were 2580 cases of MERS reported in 27 countries [iii] [iv]

MERS is a zoonotic virus, which means transmission is possible from animals to humans. In the transmission is through contact with infected dromedary camels, though exactly how it occurs is still unknown. The virus is not easily transmissible from human to human. [v]

The latest coronavirus, that began with an outbreak of pneumonia in Wuhan, was announced on 9 January 2020 by state media in China, sending warning bells around the world. [vi] The new or “novel” coronavirus became known as COVID-19 with the shortening of “Corona Virus Disease” timestamped with its emergence in “2019”.

By 30 January 2020, the International Health Regulations (2005) Emergency Committee, advised the World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General that the situation constituted a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC). At that time there were 7711 confirmed and 12,167 unconfirmed cases in China with 170 deaths. There were 83 cases in 18 other countries.

Only 41 days later, on 11 March 2020 WHO Director-General, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, announced worldwide spread of COVID-19. There were, “118,000 cases in 114 countries, and 4,291 people have lost their lives.” He declared the fast-moving infection from COVID-19 a pandemic. In summary of the recommendations he said, “First, prepare and be ready. Second, detect, protect and treat. Third, reduce transmission. Fourth, innovate and learn.”[vii]

Vaccinology around the world took on a critical new challenge; produce vaccines and create immunity to COVID-19 worldwide. Until then, no vaccines had ever been produced for a coronavirus, but MERS and SARS research and development would soon play a critical role in the ability to rapidly produce effective vaccines for COVID-19. [viii]

[i] Steinmetz, K. March 2020, A glossary of terms to help you understand the unfolding crisis, Time, accessed September 2021

[i] Williams, S. 2 June 2020, A brief history of the human coronaviruses, The Scientist, ,

[ii] Center for Disease Control, Sars (10 years after), reviewed 3 March 2016,

[iii] World Health Organization, Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV),

[iv] European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control , MERS-CoV worldwide overview, 1 September 2021,

[v] World Health Organization, 11 March 2019, Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) Key Facts,

[vi] World Health Organization, 30 January 2020, Statement on the second meeting of the International Health Regulations emergency committee regarding the outbreak of novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV),

[vii] World Health Organization, 11 March 2020, Director-General’s COVID-19 media conference, ,—11-march-2020

[viii] Ball, P., 18 December 2020, The lightning-fast quest for COVID vaccines and what it means for other diseases, Nature

Other reading
Center for Disease Control, SARS FAQ about SARS,


Slow motion of crowd wearing masks. Source: Recstockfootage

COVID testing centre, cars queuing. Source: A1ExclusiveFootage

View Inside Covid ICU In Karachi Hospital. Source: BlackBoxGuild

1960s tracking shot of man in lab. Source: AV Geeks

1980s street scene with various people. Source: FootageSelect

2003 China/Singapore: China takes new steps to try and combat deadly sars virus. Source: Reuters

Busy shopping street In Jeddah City. Source: stefhoffer

Jumeirah Beach, Dubai Downtown And Burj Khalifa, United Arab Emirates. Source: HDVMaster

Shopping street, Seoul,South Korea. Source: GreenTravelStory

Downtown London at sunset. Souce: alexanderguelph

Pedestrians walking on the street in Melbourne, Australia in 2021. Source: ymgerman

Germany Approves First Trial Of Covid-19 Vaccine Candidate. Source: Reuters


Tell Me More. Source: Rory Chenoweth

Stephanie O’Connell

Naomi Creek

Luke Sewell

This video is intended for educational purposes only and not for commercial profit. All images and footage have been selected to represent a concept or time in history and have been chosen to be as accurate as possible.

Coronaviruses Part 2

COVID-19 Vaccinations

In December 2020, less than a year after the announcement of COVID-19 in China, vaccines had been developed, trialled, and granted Emergency Use Approval (EUA) by regulatory authorities in the US, UK and China. [i] Weeks later, in January 2021, the world recorded two million deaths from COVID-19. [ii]

If nothing else, 2020 became the year the world learned what science, industry and government collaboration could produce if all the necessary elements were made available at once. The result was staggering. It was a deft response to the crisis and a demonstration of how far vaccinology had progressed. The COVID-19 pandemic trajectory looked set to improve and not mimic the last pandemic, the Great Influenza epidemic of 1918, or Spanish Flu as it was better known, that killed 50 million people. [iii]

The technology that created the first COVID-19 vaccine candidates was made possible by knowledge accumulated over 200 years of vaccinology and learnings from SARS and MERS coronavirus outbreaks and vaccine development over the last two decades. [iv] [v] But it was in the last one hundred years of scientific research and development and investment in technology that manufacturers became capable of producing large quantities of vaccine in relatively short time ready to combat global health emergencies.

Faced with the COVID-19 crisis, finding the right vaccine technology would fix one part of the problem. The next was how to scale up production, bring approved vaccines to people around world and slow the worsening impact of the pandemic.

Before vaccines can be granted approval by regulatory authorities, they go through multiple human trials to ensure safety and effectiveness. These critical steps can be lengthy and cause considerable delays before mass production can start. In the case of the first COVID-19 vaccines, researchers enrolled more participants in large-scale clinical trials which generated the necessary data in shorter time. Then, to shorten the delivery time, the vaccine manufacturers began production and stockpiling vaccines in warehouses, at their own risk, while the regulatory approvals were sought. All the approaches dramatically reduced the time to bring the vaccines to the market.[vi]

Perhaps most remarkable were the result of the trials in 2020. Pfizer-BioNTech trials reported above 95% protection against symptomatic COVID-19. Moderna reported 94% and in the UK, Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine was seeing similar results, reporting 79% protection at that time and much higher on prevention of hospitalisation. [vii] [viii] [ix]

As more vaccines developed across the world, a familiar logistical challenge loomed. It was the same challenge World Health Organization (WHO) had faced for decades; how to supply and administer vaccinations to every community in the world and ensure high levels of vaccination among those eligible.

The Coalition of Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) leads the COVAX initiative with WHO, GAVI Alliance and UNICEF.  COVAX is coordinating global resources to provide access to COVID-19 vaccine to every country, including those least able to afford the necessary supply for their population. [x] [xi]

Logistical problems have plagued the global effort. By late 2021, only 2.3% of populations in low-income countries had received a vaccination while some wealthier countries had achieved levels above 80%. [xii]

It seems that key to unlocking local access is local production and distribution. To enable that, vaccine technology sharing is adding to new capability to help development and distribution of vaccines where supply has been low. [xiii]

By September 2021, there were almost 300 [xiv] new COVID-19 vaccines in development worldwide. While only a fraction of these will reach the approval stage, the capacity to locally mass produce vaccines remains the real challenge.

[i] US Food and Drug Administration, 11 December 2020, Pfizer announcement

[ii] Worldometer, Coronavirus death toll, accessed September 2021

[iii] Influenza pandemic, National Museum Australia,

[iv] Australian Government, Department of Health, Is it true were covid-19 vaccines develop too quickly to be safe?,

[v] Ball, P, 18 December 2020, The lightning fast quest for COVID vaccines and what it means for other diseases, Nature

[vi] Ibid. Australian Government, Department of Health,

[vii] US Food and Drug Administration,, 11 December 2020, FDA Takes Key Action in fight against COVID-19,

[viii] The Guardian, 19 December 2020, FDA authorizes Moderna vaccine for emergency use,

[ix] Gallagher, J, Triggle, N, 30 December2020, BBC News Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine approved for use in UK,

[x] World Health Organization, , COVAX Working for global equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines,

[xi] CEPI, 18 Janurary 2017, A global coalition to create new vaccines for emerging infectious diseases,

[xii]  Our world data, 7 October 2021, Coronavirus vaccinations,

[xiii]  World Health Organization, 2011, Increasing access to vaccines through technology transfer and local production,

[xiii] World Health Organization, COVID-19 tracker,


Johnson & Johnson, 27 February 2021, COVID-19 Vaccine Authorized by U.S. FDA For Emergency Use – First Single-Shot Vaccine in Fight Against Global Pandemic

Lui, R Tian, YL, Munroe, T, 31 December 2021, China gives its first COVID-19 vaccine approval to Sinopharm, Reuters

Developing COVID-19 vaccines, CDC,

World Health Organization, June 2020,  Situation analysis WHO Health Emergency Programme,


Crowd of people wearing surgical masks walking in slow motion at Kadikoy. Source: OpenSeaMedia

Madrid, Spain – March 2020. Gimbal shot of eerily empty Gran Via, usually one of the most
crowded avenues in downtown Madrid, during the first day of coronavirus lockdown.
Source: Enrique Campo Bello

Empty streets approaching Leicester Square, London lockdown. Source: laurence360

Melbourne, Australia. Empty train during the September 2020 lockdown due to COVID 19 outbreak. Source: Kevin MV

Road side light poster in Sydney during covid-19 coronavirus pandemic. Source: zetter

Miami, USA – March 2020. Empty shelves at grocery store. Sold out product section due to covid-19 coronavirus. Source: Premium Footage

Parked planes on runway with timelapse clouds. Source: stefhoffer

Pan across empty classroom in kindergarten. Source: mastique87

Empty swings in playground. Source: michaelleering

View around a contemporary office space with no people. Source: hotelfoxtrot

Empty sports arena – slowly panning shot. Source: bigbambi

A popular outdoor cafe in Mediterranean capital lies deserted, following the number of
cases of COVID-19. Source: fsamora

March, 2021. Prime Minister Boris Johnson arrives at London’s St Thomas’ Hospital
to receive his coronavirus vaccine. Source: PA_Media

Circa 2021. Minnesota State Fairgrounds Community Vaccination Center during the
COVID-19 pandemic. Source: Rick Ray

Group of frontline healthcare workers getting vaccinated in vaccination center. Source: recep-bg

St. Petersburg, Russia – September 2021. Medical personnel in protective biohazard suits putting a patient in ambulance. Source: denisbatishev

Sao Paulo, Brazil – May, 2021: A nurse gives a shot of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine
to a man during a priority vaccination program for people over 60 years old.
Source: Nelson Antoine

Bang Sue Railway Station, Bangkok, Thailand – October 2021. Thai people at Central Vaccination Center receiving Astrazeneca vaccine. Source: Alexey Shramko

Bangkok, Thailand – June 2021. People receive COVID-19 vaccine during a priority vaccination program. Source: MW Shutter

Bangkok, Thailand – July 2021. People receive COVID-19 vaccine during a priority vaccination program. Source: MW Shutter

Indonesian traditional market during COVID-19 Pandemic. Source: rambadeta


Tell Me More. Source: Rory Chenoweth

Stephanie O’Connell

Naomi Creek

Luke Sewell

This video is intended for educational purposes only and not for commercial profit. All images and footage have been selected to represent a concept or time in history and have been chosen to be as accurate as possible.

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