People should not expect a vaccine to the dreaded coronavirus to be available in the market at least until next year even though there has been advancement made in recent times on the vaccine, said British scientist Dr. Robin Shattock in a television interview.
“The closest we’ll get to making this available will be early next year, or later,” Shattock, head of mucosal infection and immunity at the Department of Medicine at Imperial College London, said.
“It still requires a lot of testing to see if these vaccines are safe and then see if they work,” he added.
Shattock is engaged in a coordinated effort in the United Kingdom aimed at examining the possible vaccines for coronavirus. Tests of a possible vaccine of the virus are being carried out on animals currently. He said that the scientists are hopeful that human testing of the drug could begin “within a period of months.”
“We, and the other teams around the world, have moved much faster than has been done before,” Shattock said. This advancement, according to him, was helped by Chinese health officials sharing data about the virus and its infection with the team.
Efforts to develop a vaccine for the coronavirus – which is spreading rapidly and has killed more than a 1000 people, is on in other parts of the world as well. This novel strain of the coronavirus first emerged in December and was discovred on December 31 in the Chinese city of Wuhan in Hubei province of China. So far a total of 42,638 coronavirus cases have been confirmed, said China’s National Health Commission.
Efforts to develop a vaccine for the virus are being currently conducted by a handful of groups and companies which includes the United States-based Johnson & Johnson.
It is possible the J&J can develop a vaccine a vaccine in the coming months, said J&J chief scientific officer Paul Stoffels in a television interview late last month. However he also confirmed that any such vaccine will not be available in the market until another year.
Work in the development of vaccine against the virus is also being done by the National Institutes of Health, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and the Vaccine Research Center is working with Moderna. Human trials of the vaccine can begin as soon as in less than three months.
“What is exciting is by having multiple teams working on the same target, we hope more than one candidate will come through, and it will mean there’s plenty in terms of scale and supply chain, to act as sufficiently as possible,” Shattock said.
The outbreak constitutes a “very grave threat” for the rest of the world even though almost all of the cases of confirmed infection of the coronavirus have been reported from China, warned the director-general of the World Health Organization on Tuesday.
(Adapted from CNBC.com)