Expert Warns Against ‘False Hope’ For Quick Covid-19 Vaccine

An immunologist says most vaccines take about a decade to develop.

KUALA LUMPUR, June 22 — It is highly unlikely for a Covid-19 vaccine to be developed in less than 12 months, an expert said, touting a best-case scenario of possibly four years.

Canada’s Global News reported Byram Bridle, a viral immunologist from University of Guelph, Canada, as raising concerns on the time frame for vaccine development amid the coronavirus pandemic that has infected over nine million people globally and killed over 470,000.

“I’m not going to say it’s impossible but I would say it’s highly improbable,” he was quoted saying.

“Everybody wants hope, and the reason why I’m speaking out, though, is that false hope can be really problematic,” he added. “It’s simply not feasible for a vaccine to be developed in such a short period of time.”

Bridle reportedly noted that although the 12- to 18-month timeline is usually quoted as a framework for the possible production as a vaccine, previous data showed it takes about 10 years to develop most vaccines on average, and definitely not less than one year.

“Even in the best-case scenario, historically, we’re looking at maybe bringing that down to four years,” he was quoted saying.

Bridle reportedly said governments should not be focusing on policies surrounding the creation of a Covid-19 vaccine, but should instead discuss protection measures for high-risk groups and “ease up” on those who are at less risk.

“Physical distancing measures will certainly need to remain in places for a relatively prolonged period of time,” he was quoted saying. “Again, I don’t like to be the bearer of bad news but I don’t want government policies and the general public deriving too much hope from the promise of a vaccine.”

Earlier, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau continuously reminded people in his country of the changes they may face in their life during the post-pandemic era, until a vaccine for the coronavirus has been found.

Countries across the globe are attempting to ace the vaccine development race. Two weeks ago, Bloomberg reported that US biotech company Moderna Inc was set to begin next month the Phase 3 clinical trial of its Covid-19 vaccine candidate with 30,000 participants.

Besides Moderna, the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca Plc are set to begin their final-stage clinical trials of their joint Covid-19 vaccine this month. The company said that it had appointed Emergent BioSolutions Inc. to assist with the development process as well as manufacturing.

China National Biotec Group Co. or CNBG, a subsidiary of Beijing-based Sinopharm Group Co, has also taken part in the race of vaccine development, where China has instructed employees from their state-run companies to be vaccinated with two vaccines which are currently under development

At the same time, Health Canada also approved the first clinical trial for a vaccine candidate in May.

Frederick L. Altice, a professor of medicine, epidemiology, and public health from Yale University, stated that the history of vaccine studies shows that the fastest vaccine developed was the Ebola one that took five years.

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