The Grapevine

Coronavirus Vaccine May Only Become Available In Late 2021, Novartis CEO Says

Most are aware that coming out with a working COVID-19 virus will take some time. It takes at least a year to get one out but medical researchers and scientists are fast-tracking everything with the world unable to move forward due to the pandemic. And according to an executive from a multinational pharmaceutical company, the earliest time to expect a COVID-19 vaccine could be only by the second half of 2021.

This was revealed by Novartis AG Chief Executive Officer Vas Narasimhan, hardly a surprising claim considering it was something that most pharmaceutical companies are similarly saying. No doubt rushing a vaccine could be useless, something that could either be a failure or lacking in curing people who are wary of the repercussions brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, Bloomberg reported.

“The ultimate way to deal with this pandemic is likely to be a vaccine against Covid-19,” the CEO wrote in an opinion piece published in Switzerland’s Handelszeitung recently. “That will take more time -- my guess is about one and a half to two years.”

It should be noted that there are 90 vaccine candidates in clinical trials or development at the moment. Curiously, Novartis is not developing a COVID-19 vaccine.

The revelation also comes not long after United States President Donald Trump announced "Operation Warp Speed" with the intent of producing 300 million immunizations by the end of 2020. Tasked to lead that effort will be Moncef Slaoui, a former GlaxoSmithKline executive, to accelerate the vaccine development process for COVID-19 in a report from the Associated Press.

The push is meant to help promote an economic rebound, with most countries now starting to feel the pinch with business unable to operate normally and unemployment on the rise. The initiative is being promoted by White House senior adviser Jared Kushner and involves officials from the Defense Department and the Department of Health and Human Services.

But rushing a COVID-19 vaccine is not showing much promise for now. The efforts are there and so far, some cures are being suggested but far from the solution that most are hoping. Dr. Anthony Fauci said that a vaccine may not be available until the beginning of the next academic year.

“The idea of having treatments available or a vaccine to facilitate re-entry of students into the fall term would be something that would be a bit of a bridge too far, even at the top speed we’re going,” he said.

COVID-19 Vaccine The FDA approved Moderna's phase II clinical trial to test out their vaccine candidate called mRNA-1273, after the success of phase I. Pixabay