A coronavirus vaccine could be ready for approval in a year in an “optimistic scenario,” said the European Medicines Agency (EMA).
The vaccine manager for the EMA – the agency that approves drugs for the European Union – said he had doubts about allegations that one might be available by September.
Marco Cavaleri said: “For vaccines, since development has to start from scratch … we could look optimistic in a year, so early 2021. “
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More than 100 potential vaccines for Covid-19 are being developed worldwide, and clinical trials are underway for several of them.
Last month, scientists from the University of Oxford started a human trial on their possible vaccine.
The results could be available by June, according to an expert.
Professor Sir John Bell, Regius Professor of Medicine at Oxford The university said that “several hundred” people had been vaccinated during the Oxford test and that the challenge now is to be able to produce on a large scale once approved by regulatory authorities.
As the world rushes to develop a vaccine, the EU – which includes some of the countries hardest hit by the virus in the world – fears that it will not have enough supplies, especially if a vaccine has been developed in the United States or in China.
Cavaleri said the EMA, in communication with more than 30 developers, was doing everything it could to speed up the approval process. However, he said he was skeptical, we would be ready in four months.
He ruled out the possibility of skipping the third phase of a vaccine trial in an attempt to speed things up, which he said would be necessary to be sure that a vaccine is safe and effective.
A spokesman for the World Health Organization (WHO) warned earlier this week that coronaviruses are “very delicate viruses” that are “difficult to produce vaccines”.
The global health agency – which is leading a global initiative to develop safe and effective vaccines, tests and treatments for Covid-19 – said in April this year that a coronavirus vaccine would take at least 12 months .
The EMA is also studying 115 different therapies or treatments for the coronavirus, which has killed nearly 300,000 people worldwide.
Cavaleri said some of these therapies could be approved in Europe as early as this summer, but did not specify which ones.
More than 4.35 million people have tested positive for the coronavirus worldwide since Thursday, with cases registered in 220 countries and territories.
Additional reports by agencies