A vaccine to halt the spread of coronavirus could be with the world by autumn, according to European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen.
Contradicting the timeline that suggests a Covid-19 vaccine won’t be with us for up to 18 months, Von der Leyen said she was hopeful following a meeting with CureVac, a biotech company working on a coronavirus vaccine.
Speaking as the EU offered the company €80m (£72.8m) in financial backing, the EC president said: “I hope that with this support, we can have a vaccine on the market, perhaps before autumn.”
Von der Leyen also suggested that medical trials could be fast-tracked to bring the vaccine on to the market as quickly as possible.
She added: "As we are in a severe crisis, we all see that we are able to speed up any of the processes that are slow normally and take a lot of time and are very bureaucratic.”
Thorsten Schüller, a CureVac spokesman, declined to respond to Von der Leyen’s predicted timeline, according to POLITICO.
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As researchers work to prevent future outbreaks, a global race is on to develop a vaccine for Covid-19.
On Monday, American scientists administered the first doses of an experimental vaccine.
Scientists at the Kaiser Permanente Washington Research Institute in Seattle started a first-stage study, funded by the US National Institutes of Health, of the potential vaccine, by injecting healthy volunteers.
Researchers said that because the vaccines do not contain the virus, there is no chance of participants getting infected.
However, even if everything goes well, a vaccine is not expected to be ready for widespread use for at least a year.
Meanwhile, scientists in various countries across the world are in different stages of testing potential vaccines in clinical trials.
But the international community seems to be in agreement that a vaccine for Covid-19 will not be available for another 12-18 months.
University of Plymouth researchers have started work on a coronavirus vaccine working with the Shanghai Veterinary Research Institute and Kansas State University.