Scientist Says Finding a Coronavirus Vaccine By End of Year Is Doubtful

Barbara Schwarz
May 17, 2020 - 4:42 am

DALLAS (KRLD) - There's skepticism regarding the White House's goal to find and manufacture a vaccine for COVID-19 by the end of the year.

The president says he wants to mobilize the military to distribute the coronavirus vaccine. Dr. Peter Hotez, head of the school of the national school of tropical medicine at the Baylor College of Medicine.

Hotez says a vaccine by the fall of 2021 is a more realistic goal. "I think sometimes the White House conflates manufacturing of the vaccine without taking into account all the testing that needs to be done."

He says it's not "complicated to make an immune response against the spike proteins, but having one you know actually works in people and is safe through clinical testing and phase three clinical trials of large numbers of individuals, that takes time and that's going to be the hardest timeline to compress."

The president said there are 14 promising candidates. Hotez says seven of them are in clinical trials.  He hopes the vaccine he and his team will be part of the next seven trials. 

They were able to make a SARS vaccine some time back. "Because of all the research we and others had done on the other coronaviruses like SARS, we hit the ground running. That's the reason we're having this discussion.  Sometimes it can take a decade or more to develop a vaccine."

Hotez says the mumps vaccine is the fastest ever developed, and that took four years.

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