Geneva (UNA-OIC) – Widespread coronavirus vaccination could begin in the middle of next year, the chief scientist of the World Health Organization (WHO) told dpa, expressing cautious optimism about the state of the research and development process.
“We have now over 20 candidates in clinical studies. So we are hopeful that a couple of them will work. It would be very unlucky if all of them fail,” Soumya Swaminathan said.
“So if we are very practical, then we are looking at the middle of 2021 when we will have a vaccine that can be widely deployed,” she said, adding: “Of course it’s impossible to predict.”
Swaminathan said the global race to develop a vaccine has been “the fastest timeline we have ever seen,” noting there was only three months between the time the virus’ genetic sequence was published in January and the first trial began.
The novel coronavirus was first detected in Wuhan, China, late last year. It has since spread to almost every corner of the globe, killing more than 600,000 people and infecting over 14 million. The United States leads the world in confirmed cases.