Racing for a COVID-19 vaccine doesn’t mean we’ll have one this year

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Credit: Monica Herndon / Philadelphia Inquirer

THE CORONA-VACCINE RACE: The desperate search for a vaccine for covid-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, is in full swing around the world as public health experts warn that it’s the only long-term solution to curb the virus that has so far killed more than 69,000 people.

But a vaccine probably isn’t imminent: Experts predict that developing a vaccine to distribute could be a 12 to 18 month process. 

Still, that represents an unprecedented timetable in vaccine years. The process normally can take a decade or more to receive regulatory approval. Coronavirus has sparked the fastest vaccine-searching process in history as dozens of initiatives are already underway. 

Related article:  Why controlling COVID-19 outbreaks could make it harder to test a vaccine

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The obstacles: The actual deployment of the vaccine could take a lot longer than the abbreviated timeline [President] Trump has pushed. “So although this is the fastest we have ever gone from a sequence of a virus to a trial, it still would not be applicable to the epidemic unless we really wait about a year to a year and a half,” [Dr. Anthony] Fauci explained in early March.

But many experts say even that is too optimistic, given the normal FDA process requires that scientists prove a vaccine has no serious side effects.

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