How far away is a vaccine?

The most hopeful estimates fall within the range of 12 to 18 months.

A report for the British government put it at “potentially 18 months or more”.

Basic steps to make a vaccine:

  1. Design a way of giving a human immunity against a virus.
  2. Make sure the vaccine is not toxic.
  3. Test it in animals.
  4. Test it in humans – and the tests need to be large so we can make sure it works and is safe.
  5. Make the billions of doses needed. And there is every chance a vaccine that looks promising in the lab, or in animal tests, won’t work in humans.

Experts are hoping to roll out a safe vaccine within 18 months. But even that would be unprecedented. No vaccine has ever been developed that quickly.

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