A viable vaccine to the coronavirus responsible for the COVID-19 illness won't be available to immunize the general public until the end of 2024, said the chief executive of the world's largest vaccine manufacturer in an exclusive interview with the Financial Times.
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Viable coronavirus vaccine not coming until 2024, says major CEO
CEO of the Serum Institute of India Adar Poonawalla said pharmaceutical firms weren't ramping up their production capacity swiftly enough to adequately innoculate the world's population before the end of 2024, in an interview with the Financial Times (FT).
"It's going to take four to five years until everyone gets the vaccine on this planet," Poonawalla said, reports FT. Previously, Poonawala had predicted that a two-dose vaccine standard — if applied to the coronavirus vaccine, like rotavirus or the measles — would need 15 billion doses to innoculate the planet, reports a local news source.
This comes on the heels of an announcement from the CDC earlier this month, which instructed public health officials in all 50 states and five large cities of the U.S. to prepare to distribute a viable coronavirus vaccine to health care workers and other high-risk groups.
UPDATE September 14, 12:08 PM EDT: Serum Institute to manufacture one billion doses of coronavirus vaccine
The Serum Institute — located in Pune — has partnered with five other pharmaceutical companies globally, including Novavax and AstraZeneca. Together, they've pledged to develop a coronavirus vaccine with aims to manufacture one billion doses — half of which is promised to India.
The Serum Institute might also join with Russia's Gamaleya Research Institute to co-produce the Sputnik vaccine, reports the Hindustan Times.
UPDATE September 14, 12:30 PM EDT: Pause in UK vaccine human trials, lowering expectations
Last week, the Oxford vaccine candidate from Astra Zeneca halted human trials when a volunteer fell ill in the U.K., after which the Serum Institute of India also stopped trials — citing a show-cause notice issued form the Drug Controller of India. But these trials have already resumed in Britain.
As I’d mentioned earlier, we should not jump to conclusions until the trials are fully concluded. The recent chain of events are a clear example why we should not bias the process and should respect the process till the end. Good news, @UniofOxford. https://t.co/ThIU2ELkO3— Adar Poonawalla (@adarpoonawalla) September 12, 2020
When this happened late last week, Poonawala tweeted, "[a]s I'd mentioned earlier, we should not jump to conclusions until the trials are fully concluded. The recent chain of events are a clear example why we should not bias the process and should respect the process till the end."
As pharmaceutical companies in the U.S. and around the world work with government agencies to build a reliable timeline toward offering the world a viable vaccine, we seem to be in a hypothetical tug-o-war, with President Trump's administration pulling the date back to sometime this year, and other experts — some scientific, some private — arguing for more time.
Whether a vaccine is available sooner or later, one thing is certain: the COVID-19 coronavirus will be history. Eventually.
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