DETROIT – Could we really have a coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine by the end of the year? Some experts believe it’s possible, though not necessarily likely.
Pfizer made headlines Tuesday by claiming it could have a vaccine ready for emergency use as soon as September.
Dr. Anthony Fauci said there’s a chance a vaccine could be ready as soon as January.
But how realistic are those timelines? To say it would be unprecedented to develop a vaccine that fast doesn’t even begin to cover it.
The current record for developing a brand-new vaccine is four years. The chickenpox and flumist vaccines took 28 years. The HPV vaccine was in development for 15 years, as was the rotavirus vaccine. Mumps was considered lightning fast, at four years.
That said, some of the usual hurdles have been removed in this global race, and that’s why some experts believe a significantly shorter timeline is possible, but not probable.
In 2009, researchers created a vaccine against the swine flu in about five months. That was possible because it used the same manufacturers and materials that we already had to create the seasonal flu vaccine, so they weren’t starting from scratch. Fauci led the effort to fast track that vaccine.