It's becoming clearer by the day that a vaccine is the big hope of getting us all out of this mess.
The resurgence of COVID-19 in New Zealand means that even with the toughest measures, on islands far from other islands, the coronavirus is unbeatable.
So where do we stand with a vaccine?
There are more than 165 projects around the world to develop a vaccine, according to the World Health Organisation.
Of those, 31 are being tried on humans and six are in an advanced stage of being tried in large batches on lots of humans - what's called Phase 3 trials.
If one of these front-runners succeeds there is then the matter of production and distribution.
The betting is on the University of Oxford and the British drug company AstraZeneca coming up with the goods - but no race is over until it's over.
Will Australia get the vaccine?
The federal government has been negotiating with the British group for 30 million doses of its vaccine if it works.
The deal would involve a licence to make the substance in a Melbourne plant owned by the biotechnology company CSL.
A spokesman for CSL said: "We are assessing the viability of options ranging from the fill-and-finish of bulk product imported to Australia through to manufacture of the vaccine candidate under licence."
"Fill-and-finish" means putting the vaccine, perhaps made by others, into syringes to transport out to doctors.
Is that the only way?
It's not clear if the government has a Plan B in case the Oxford vaccine doesn't work out.
The other way of securing a supply other than buying a license to manufacture it in Australia is to import.
The government could do an "advance purchase deal" where it agrees to buy the vaccine if the company developing it succeeds. It's a contract to buy the substance itself.
The United States government has done that with the Oxford vaccine (if it works out) for 300 million doses. The European Union has put in for 400 million doses.
It would be surprising if Britain wasn't somewhere near the front of the queue given that the research is taking place there.
There is reported to be an Indian manufacturer gearing up to make a vaccine when (and, again, if) one emerges.
But this isn't an only-one-winner scenario. It may be that several of the six groups will develop different vaccines or perhaps a Russian outsider.
The advantage of licensing rather than importing is that Australia wouldn't be bidding against the US, for example, for a fixed supply.
Will the rich get the lot?
Each country would allocate its supply of a vaccine according to its own system, and Australia has a public health system with open access to rich and poor.
It's true that private medicine is available but politics might prevent a vaccine going first to the Australians with the biggest wallets and bank accounts. Can you imagine the row?
But that would be for the government and politics to determine.
Only a fool would say that money won't talk when (and if) a vaccine appears, but there is an alliance of governments of rich and poor countries, companies and research institutes plus the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation trying to make sure poor countries aren't left out.
And it is in the interests of all that all are vaccinated - we have learnt that while this thing is out there, it's out there for everyone.
The alliance called Gavi says it has a "shared goal of creating equal access to new and underused vaccines for children living in the world's poorest countries". Australia is Gavi's largest donor in Asia.
Developing the vaccine isn't the end of the story
The vaccine has to be produced and regulators have to pass it as safe. And there is then the task of vaccinating billions of people.
And getting it to them first. "We're not prepared," Neel Jones Shah of the global freight forwarder Flexport said, according to the Bloomberg news service. He said that vaccine supply chains were much more complex than supply chains for Personal Protective Equipment like gloves and masks.
"You can't ruin PPE by leaving it on the tarmac for a couple of days. You will destroy vaccines."
The head of Emirates SkyCargo's pharmaceutical division told Bloomberg that a single Boeing 777 freighter could carry a million doses of a vaccine.
That would mean 8,000 cargo planes to protect half the world's population.
That would probably mean a coordinated global strategy. It would be reminiscent of the kind of global logistics mobilisation seen only in war.
So when will all this be over?
It may never be - but the optimistic view is that a vaccine will emerge next year. Bill Gates who is spending a lot of his own money on the search thinks the end of next year is more likely.
"The innovation pipeline on scaling up diagnostics, on new therapeutics, on vaccines is actually quite impressive," he said.
"And that makes me feel like, for the rich world, we should largely be able to end this thing by the end of 2021, and for the world at large by the end of 2022."
By the way ...
For the 165 projects searching for a vaccine, failure means all the money down the drain.
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