A coronavirus vaccine is “not acquired,” an expert told Sky News.
Sir Jeremy Farrar, director of the Wellcome Trust and one of the experts advising the government on his COVID-19 response said he was “optimistic” that one could find one.
But he told Sky’s Sophy Ridge on Sunday that there were no guarantees.
“The truth is that we don’t have a vaccine for any other human coronavirus – colds, SARS, MERS – and so it’s not for granted that we’re going to have a vaccine, ”said Sir Jeremy.
“I’m optimistic but it’s not whether it’s a vaccine or treatment or a test or diagnosis, the truth is that we have to have it all and we have to use it in parallel because we don’t know which one -this will work and in the end we will need it all. ”
Sir Jeremy added that he hoped for a vaccine by the end of this year, but stressed that it will take time for it to be widely available.
“If we had a vaccine, say at the end of 2020 or 2021, then we would need to make it in billions of doses and make those billions of doses available to the world,” said Sir Jeremy.
“So just having a safe, effective and proven vaccine is not enough, we have to think until the end of how we get this in the world, because if there is a vulnerable country, s ‘There is one country where there is still transmission of this virus, so each country is vulnerable.
“I hope we get a vaccine by the end of this year, but it is a vaccine in a vial, a vaccine that we think is safe, a vaccine that we think will work. It’s not a vaccine for the world. ”
Sir Jeremy was speaking as a government facing new questions on his management of the COVID-19 crisis.
According to the Sunday Times, disastrous warnings have been ignored by scientists – and the UK has lost “five crucial weeks in fighting the dangerous threat of the coronavirus despite its dangerously poor pandemic preparedness.”
Government whistleblowers, scientists and emergency planners alleged that there was complacency at the heart of the government in late January and February, when it should have urgently replenished the stocks.
Asked how slow ministers were to respond to the virus, Sir Jeremy said “there are lessons to be learned.”
:: Listen to the Daily podcast on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Spreaker
He said, “I think if you look at the tests, yes, if you look at what was going on in Korea and Singapore and Germany, there was a much faster acceleration of the tests.
“The tests are essential, the tests will be essential to exit this epidemic, the ramp-up of the tests, the provision of PPE [personal protective equipment] in hospitals to protect health care workers, all of that in retrospect, yes, should have happened sooner. “
Sir Jeremy also said the UK has passed the peak of the COVID-19 epidemic, but warned that more spikes could follow.
“We shouldn’t see this as a low-key episode,” he told Ridge.
“I think the likelihood and what we need to plan for is that there will be new waves in the future. “
In his role on the Scientific Emergency Advisory Group, Sir Jeremy is one of many experts who will tell the government when the time is right to start easing the UK lockdown.
He said it was not the right time, but “I hope we will get there in three, four weeks.”
“It is clear that the lockdown cannot last longer,” continued Sir Jeremy.
“The damage it does to our health, our well-being, our mental health, of course disproportionately affects the most vulnerable and the least able to cope with it in society, this is a very big problem of inequality. “
A Downing Street spokesperson criticized the Sunday Times report, stating, “Our response has ensured that the NHS receives all the support it needs to ensure that everyone in need of treatment receives it, as well as to protect businesses and reassure workers.
“The Prime Minister has led the response to this, providing leadership during this extremely difficult time for the whole nation. “