A desperately-needed COVID-19 vaccine may never come to light, according the Australian scientist heading up the global search.
Health officials urgently need a ‘plan B’ to end the global pandemic, Jane Halton, the country’s foremost epidemic health expert warned.
Scientists all over the world are scrambling to develop a vaccine, with hopes it would be available early next year – a timeline Ms Halton called ‘unbelievable’.
She warned against creating ‘unrealistic expectations’, explaining that there has never been a successful vaccine against other coronaviruses.
Despite a global HIV death toll of 32 million people over 40 years, it also has no vaccine.
The sobering claims by Ms Halton will dampen hopes that human trials of a vaccine in America would be successful.
‘If you said we pulled out all the stops and a vaccine was approved and deemed efficacious by the middle of next year, that would be unbelievably quick … we would be ecstatically overjoyed, delighted,’ she told The Australian.
‘But I do think it is important not to create unrealistic expectations. No one has ever successfully developed a coronavirus vaccine, and we still don’t have a vaccine against HIV.
‘I would never say never. But this is my point about an 18-month timeline: it is heroic, really tough.’
Ms Halton was previously chairman on the executive board of the World Health Organization, and is a former president of the World Health Assembly.
The expert is now heading up efforts at the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, which is backed by billionaire Bill Gates.
A US firm called Novavax claimed earlier this week it was planning to launch a human trial of its prototype vaccine in May, with results expected by July.
(H/T Daily Mail)