• Question: How much longer would you assume it will be until a vaccine is created

    Asked by conrad07 on 21 Apr 2020.
    • Photo: Sonia Lenehan

      Sonia Lenehan answered on 21 Apr 2020:

      At the moment we do not know how long it will take to have a vaccine. Scientists all over the world are working very hard to try and find a vaccine, it can be a long process and they are working long hours to try and speed up this process, while making sure that the vaccine does its job and is safe for everyone.

    • Photo: Dimitar Shterionov

      Dimitar Shterionov answered on 21 Apr 2020: last edited 21 Apr 2020 10:04 am

      Hi Conrad,

      It is difficult to answer this question. Maybe we can expect a vaccine at some point next year but I am not sure. It takes a long time because when they find a vaccine, they will need to run a lot of tests (trials) so that they are sure that the vaccine works and does not have any side effects.

      However, I am very positive that by then there will be a lot of other medications that help fight the COVID19 virus and we can go out and continue going to work and school in a couple of months 🙂


    • Photo: Marcello Valente

      Marcello Valente answered on 21 Apr 2020:

      at the moment we can hope to have a vaccine by the end of the year.
      Most vaccines require at least two years to make sure it’s as safe as possible.

    • Photo: Roisin Jones

      Roisin Jones answered on 21 Apr 2020: last edited 21 Apr 2020 10:22 am

      Hi Conrad! I’m guessing this question relates specifically to a vaccine against Covid-19/SARS-CoV-2 rather than a general question about vaccines. The honest answer is that it’s difficult to say: in general, drug development is a very long process (the average time to take a drug from development to selling it to patients is about ten years!), but there are some exceptions, and because we badly need a vaccine for Covid-19, my guess is that this will be one of them.

      Lots of research scientists and pharmaceutical companies have already started working on potential vaccines, and some of them have already started clinical trials (which means testing the vaccine out) in humans, which is very good news because it means the process is happening a lot faster than usual: normally it would take about 6-7 years to get to that point!

      The first challenge is that we have to find a vaccine that works and is safe to give to the majority of people: this means lots of testing in humans and lots of analysing the results to make sure that it’s effective. This is because we want to avoid giving a lot of people a vaccine that doesn’t work, as this could lead to more outbreaks if people think they’re immune when they’re not.

      If we’re lucky, one of the early vaccines that gets tested will turn out to be effective: once we have a vaccine that we’re confident is going to work, the next challenge is making lots of it so that it can be given out to everybody who needs it. This will take a lot of work from pharmaceutical companies around the world, first to make the vaccine and then to get it out to doctors and hospitals so that they can give it to everyone.

      The good news on that front is that there are some people (for example the Bill Gates foundation) that are doing things like building factories to mass produce promising vaccines while testing is still happening: if this works, it would mean that once there is a confirmed effective vaccine, they would be able to start sending it out straight away instead of waiting to make it on a big scale.

      What all of this boils down to is that there are a lot of scientists and other people working as fast as they can to develop and mass produce a vaccine, but even with all of that work, it is still likely that between testing, analysing the data and making the vaccine, the earliest we will have a vaccine available is some time in the middle of 2021.

    • Photo: Michael Nolan

      Michael Nolan answered on 21 Apr 2020:

      This is not my field.
      But given the steps that have to be followed to make a vaccine available for safe use, this would *normally* be a decade or so.
      Given the current public health emergency, many of steps that make this slow will be speeded up, more money will be available and support for the development of the vaccine will be strong. Nonethless, there is still much research and testing to do which takes time to do correctly to ensure safety.
      I would think middle 2022 before we have a vaccine sufficiently safe to administer. Therefore, we will still need many of the measures currently in place to minimise the spread.

    • Photo: Louise Mc Grath

      Louise Mc Grath answered on 21 Apr 2020:

      Great question conrad07! Lots of people on the news have been saying that a vaccine should be ready by the end of the year, however, it could take longer than that, it really depends on the vaccine trial results. If a trial is successful, then the vaccine can be developed quickly, if the trial is unsuccessful, then more testing will have to be carried out!

      On a positive note, lots of research is being carried out to develop a vaccine as quickly as possible. In Germany at the start of April, they started testing a vaccine that was used as an old tuberculosis vaccine. Just yesterday in England they started testing a vaccine on humans which is based on the common cold virus, so we will have to wait and see the results from this study. If they get a breakthrough there, then I would expect a vaccine to be developed quickly.

      We will just have to wait and see, but I am hopeful that a vaccine will be found as I have a lot of faith in the researchers!

    • Photo: Sarah Guerin

      Sarah Guerin answered on 23 Apr 2020:

      Hi Conrad,

      I’m not an expert in this, but I think the other scientists have given good answers. Everyone is optimistic that it will happen, but it’s difficult to put an exact time on it. Know that lots of people are working very hard to make it happen.

    • Photo: James Sullivan

      James Sullivan answered on 23 Apr 2020:

      Normally these take a long time to develop, and an even longer time to get licenced.
      Regulations for selling vaccines are very strict to ensure that they aren’t themselves dangerous and this takes a long time to prove.
      I assume there is a lot of effort in the first part of this at the moment – that is the development bit, but I don’t know if the validation bit (where it all proves to be effective and safe) can be speeded up.
      I’d worry a bit if this was shortened – because if anything went wrong with that step (because we’re rushing) – and it did affect some people after it became available, then this would allow the anti-vax people to campaign against all vaccines

    • Photo: Katherine Benson

      Katherine Benson answered on 23 Apr 2020:

      It’s really hard to know how long it will take, but I do know that many different scientists and researchers all over the world are doing their very best to get us a vaccine as quickly as possible while making sure that when they do distribute it, it will be safe for us to use.