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Coronavirus: when will the Covid-19 vaccine be ready?

UK researchers believe they may have a vaccine for the coronavirus by September, but authorities in the US have warned it could take up to a year.

Coronavirus: when will the Covid-19 vaccine be ready?
Rahman RoslanGetty Images

The return to normality after the coronavirus pandemic will be far from straightforward and a lot hinges on the development of an effective vaccine against Covid-19 according to medical experts and world leaders. Several options are being investigated and one team, led by British researcher Sarah Gilbert, a professor of vaccinology at Oxford University, suggests that it may be September before a vaccine becomes readily available.

I think there’s a high chance that it will work based on other things that we have done with this type of vaccine,” Dr. Gilbert told UK daily The Times.”It’s not just a hunch and as every week goes by we have more data to look at. I would go for 80 percent, that’s my personal view.”

Dr. Gilbert added that human trials could begin within two weeks after talks with the UK government.

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Covid-19 trials moving forward in the US

In the US, pharmaceutical company Moderna started human trials in March in tandem with the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) according to a report by Bloomberg and the first results could be available in two months. The vaccine will be initially made available to front line health care workers if it proves successful. However, the NIH and the US Food and Drug Administration have warned that it could be at least a year before a vaccine is made available for the public at large.

Separately, Pfizer Inc has said that early data has helped it identify a drug candidate with the potential to help treat patients infected with the novel coronavirus. It also finalized a plan to develop a coronavirus vaccine in partnership with German drugmaker BioNTech SE and saidthe companies hope to produce millions of vaccines by the end of 2020. The companies said they plan to start trials of the vaccine as early as this month.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said that normal business in the country will not resume until a vaccine is available and also sounded a note of caution that such a scenario could be a "long way off."

The global economy faces huge challenges due to the coronavirus pandemic and the International Monetary Fund has made the grim prediction that the world could be set for "the worst economic fallout since the great depression."


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