Coronavirus vaccine won’t be ready until the end of 2021, says professor


A vaccine for Covid-19 will not be ready until the end of next year, according to Dale Fisher, president of the World Health Organization (WHO) epidemic alert and response network.

The schedule would be a “very reasonable” wait because of the necessary phase 2 and 3 trials of any vaccine to guarantee both safety and efficacy, Fisher said. Production and distribution, as well as the effective administration of the vaccine, should also be speeded up, he said.

Fisher said “we are currently on target” for a vaccine in 2021 with five phase 1 studies currently underway.

“We always thought that around April, May, we would be in phase 1 studies, so that means that a potential vaccine has been invented if you wish. We are now trying on individuals, mainly to see if it is safe, “Fisher CNBC “Street Signs Asia” said on Monday.

The current trials would allow for “early data collection” to assess whether the potential vaccine is actually “working,” before larger safety and efficacy trials can be performed, said Fisher, who is also a senior consultant at the Division of Infectious Diseases at the Singapore National University Hospital.

Fisher also said that President Donald Trump’s comments on Sunday – that he was confident that a coronavirus vaccine would be developed by the end of 2020 – were “a bit premature.”

Meanwhile, Severin Schwan, CEO of pharmaceutical giant Roche, also expressed some skepticism about the timetable proposed by the president, saying that the end of this year was “certainly an ambitious goal”.

“I have no doubt that so many companies are working on a vaccine in parallel and that we see such collaboration with regulators, including the FDA, we can really speed up the approval of vaccines,” he told Squawk. Box Europe ”from CNBC. Monday.

“But still, it would usually take years to develop a new drug. Most experts agree that it will take at least 12 to 18 months before a vaccine is available in the amount needed by patients. “

Chronology of a potential coronavirus treatment

Preliminary results from clinical trials for Gilead Sciences’ antiviral remdesivir have been promising, indicating that it could shorten recovery time for patients hospitalized for coronavirus. The US Food and Drug Administration has since granted emergency use authorization for the drug.

Despite very positive information about remdesivir, it is still far from the proven miracle drug that we would like to see, according to Fisher.

But in the end, the best defense against Covid-19 would be a vaccine that “would get public immunity to stop it,” said Fisher. Natural herd immunity was not the way to go, he said. Collective immunity is a situation where enough people in a population have become immune to a disease so that it effectively prevents the spread of the disease.

Until a vaccine is ready, everyone must understand the role they should play in public health, said Fisher. He stressed that there must be an ongoing “message” about it.

Instead of relying solely on contact tracing, simple efforts, including social distancing, showing up in hospitals and not going out when the sick were “so important” and necessary, said Fisher.


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