First coronavirus vaccine ‘ready for approval in a year’, experts say – The Sun

THE world's first coronavirus vaccine could be ready for approval in a year's time, experts have said.

The European Medicines Agency today said "under an optimistic scenario" the jab would be given the go-ahead in the next 12-months.

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Marco Cavaleri, the EMA's head of vaccines, said he was sceptical of claims it could be ready by September.

He said: "For vaccines, since the development has to start from scratch … we might look from an optimistic side in a year from now, so beginning of 2021."

It comes as Public Health England gave the green light for the first coronavirus antibody test which could ease Britain's lockdown.

No10 is now keen to get its hands on "as many of these as possible" after the potentially game-changing kit was developed by Swiss healthcare company Roche.

But experts are all in agreement that a vaccine is the best way to stop the virus.

The World Health Organisation's chief scientist revealed yesterday that the coronavirus pandemic could take up to five years to get under control.

'Best way out'

Soumya Swaminathan said a vaccine "seems for now the best way out" but warned there are "lots of ifs and buts" in guaranteeing its safety.

The WHO chief scientist told the FT's Global Boardroom digital conference: "I would say in a four to five-year timeframe, we could be looking at controlling this."

But she warned a number of factors would have to be considered – including whether the killer bug matures and what containment measures are put in place.

The scientist gave the bleak outline as other experts warned no one can predict when the deadly disease will disappear if it even vanishes at all.

Dr Mike Ryan, who heads up the organisation's health emergencies programme, said: "We have a new virus entering the human population for the first time, and therefore it is very hard to predict when we will prevail over it.

"What is clear, and I think maybe what Soumya may have been alluding to, is that the current number of people in our population who've been infected is actually relatively low.

"And if you're a scientist, and you project forward in the absence of a vaccine, and you try and calculate 'how long is it going to take for enough people to be infected so that this disease settles into an endemic trace'?

"And it is important to put this on the table – this virus may become just another endemic virus in our communities. And this virus may never go away.

"HIV has not gone away, we've come to terms with the virus and we have found the therapies and we found the prevention methods, and people don't feel as scared as they did before and we're offering long healthy life to people with HIV."

The doctor also said lockdown shouldn't be eased with appropriate surveillance measures in place otherwise it will be a case of "counting the bodies in the morgue" to see if relaxing the measures have worked.

Dr Ryan echoed his colleague and said the best way to globally eradicate the virus would be developing a vaccine made available to everyone.

But he warned the world has "lacked the will and determination" in the past to invest in health systems and distribute vaccines already capable of fighting diseases such as measles.

The doctor continued: "It's a massive opportunity for the world.

"The idea that a new disease could emerge, cause a pandemic, and we could – with a massive moonshot – find a vaccine and give that to everyone who needs it and stop this disease in its tracks will turn, maybe what has been a tragic pandemic, into a beacon of hope for the future of our planet and the way we care for our citizens."

'May never get jab'

Earlier this week, Boris Johnson warned we may never find a coronavirus vaccine – as he warned of "large epidemic waves" in future.

Mr Johnson said: "While we hope for a breakthrough, hope is not a plan.

"A mass vaccine or treatment may be more than a year away. Indeed, in a worst-case scenario, we may never find a vaccine.

"So our plan must countenance a situation where we are in this, together, for the long haul, even while doing all we can to avoid that outcome."

The PM also warned that despite the strict measures that have been taken, Brits could face living with the threat of Covid-19 for the long-haul.


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Mr Johnson said that to boost the promise of a vaccine, the Government has thrown its support behind development programmes at Oxford University and Imperial College.

Volunteers were given the first doses of the experimental jab last month and experts say they will know by the summer if it works.

The team has also struck a deal with pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca for a huge roll-out of the vaccine at cost price.Dr Hilary back Public Health England's green lighting of Roche's antibody test

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