The European Union’s medicines agency suggested Thursday that a vaccine for the coronavirus could be ready in year, even as the World Health Organization warned that the disease may never go away.
World leaders past and present have insisted that any eventual vaccines and treatments should be made available to everyone free of charge, with the global death toll from the disease nearing 300,000.
The pandemic has caused massive social and economic upheaval across the planet and while some nations have begun easing punishing lockdowns, fears of a second wave have kept many businesses shuttered and people confined to their homes.
Washington ratcheted up tensions over the crisis by accusing China of trying to steal research, and US President Donald Trump upped the rhetoric with a colourful phrase that was likely to infuriate Beijing.
“We just made a great Trade Deal, the ink was barely dry, and the World was hit by the Plague from China. 100 Trade Deals wouldn’t make up the difference — and all those innocent lives lost!” Trump tweeted.
– ‘Best-case scenario’ –
With the race to find a vaccine gathering pace, the European Medicines Agency said one could possibly be ready in a year based on data from trials under way.
Announcing the forecast at a video news conference, Marco Cavaleri, the EMA’s head of biological health threats and vaccines strategy, stressed that it was a “best-case scenario”.
“We know also that there may be delays,” he said, voicing scepticism over reports a vaccine could be ready as early as September.
world leaders were among 140 signatories to a letter published Thursday saying any vaccine should not be patented and that the science should be shared among nations.