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Coronavirus vaccine could be ready in early 2021

Credit: Belga

Having a vaccine against the new coronavirus (Covid-19) ready in a year’s time is possible in an optimistic scenario, the European Medicine Agency (EMA) said on Thursday.

“We can see the possibility if everything goes as planned that some of them (vaccines) could be ready for approval in a year from now, so beginning of 2021,” said Marco Cavaleri, the head of the EMA’s vaccine division, according to the AFP press agency.

“These are just forecasts based on what we are seeing. But again, I have to stress that this is a best-case scenario,” he said, adding that there could always be delays along the way.

European countries are pumping large sums of money into the development of a vaccine and the start of clinical trials, with Belgium recently investing €20 million in a vaccine testing centre.

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Despite the German Health Minister’s warning that developing a vaccine could take years, the country also earmarked €750 million in the race for a vaccine.

In March, President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen said she was optimistic that a vaccine could be on the market “perhaps before autumn.” However, the European Medicine Agency is sceptical of Von der Leyen’s estimation, and aims for early 2021.

Additionally, the Agency said that it was “a bit early to say” that the coronavirus may never go away, as the World Health Organisation (WHO) expressed earlier.

“We have good reason to be sufficiently optimistic that some vaccines will make it,” Cavaleri added.

Maïthé Chini
The Brussels Times