FILE PHOTO: A Covid-19 vaccine will not be available for widespread use for about 18 months, the boss of one of the UK’s biggest drug companies warned on Wednesday. Picture: Reuters
FILE PHOTO: A Covid-19 vaccine will not be available for widespread use for about 18 months, the boss of one of the UK’s biggest drug companies warned on Wednesday. Picture: Reuters

18 month timeline for Covid-19 vaccine is ambitious, says pharmaceutical giant

By Daily Mail and Lifestyle reporter Time of article published Apr 30, 2020

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London - A Covid-19 vaccine will not be available for widespread use for about 18 months, the boss of one of the UK’s biggest drug companies warned on Wednesday.

Emma Walmsley, chief executive of GlaxoSmithKline, said that even if scientists successfully develop a jab this year, mass-producing one quickly is a huge logistical challenge.

"To get to scale manufacturing in the hundreds of millions is going to be in the second half of next year," she said. Some vaccines could be ready sooner – but only for emergency use.

Scientists around the world are working on as many as 100 potential Covid-19 jabs. 

GlaxoSmithKline, the world’s biggest vaccine producer, is involved in seven. Walmsley said: "The world definitely needs more than one vaccine."

Developing one for mass use normally takes a decade and an 18-month timeline is "ambitious", she added. The industry is "moving as fast as we possibly can" with help from governments. US rival Pfizer said its vaccine could be ready for emergency use by this autumn.

A vaccine is unlikely to be ready before the end of next year, CEO of Swiss pharmaceutical giant Roche also suggested. 

According to Forbes, the pharmaceutical's chief executive Severin Schwan criticised some existing blood tests that claim to find out if people have had coronavirus as a “disaster”.

In the interim Roche is set to release its own antibody test that can help detect whether a person has developed immunity against the virus. The test could be ready by as early as next year.

Daily Mail

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