Vaccine makers are racing to develop COVID-19 vaccines, and have advanced ten candidates into clinical trials. But challenges remain. Asher Mullard reports.
Vaccine development is typically a long game. The US Food and Drug Administration only approved a first vaccine against Ebola virus last year, 43 years after the deadly virus was discovered. Vaccinologists have made little headway with HIV or respiratory syncytial virus, despite huge investments. On average, it takes 10 years to develop a vaccine. With the COVID-19 crisis looming, everyone is hoping that this time will be different.
It might be. Already, ten vaccines against severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-COV-2) are in clinical trials (table
), and researchers at the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca hope to have the first phase 3 data in hand this summer. Although many infectious disease experts argue that even 18 months for a first vaccine is an incredibly aggressive schedule, a few optimists believe that hundreds of millions of doses of vaccine might be ready for roll-out by the end of 2020.
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