TOPLINEA coronavirus vaccine is unlikely to be ready before the end of next year, CEO of Swiss pharmaceutical giant Roche suggested, as he called a 12-18 month timeline “ambitious” during the company’s Q1 Earnings call on Wednesday.
He also criticised some existing blood tests that claim to find out if people have had coronavirus as a “disaster”.
Roche is set to release its own antibody test that can help detect whether a person has developed immunity against the virus.
The test could be ready early next month, Roche said, while it is working to get Emergency Use Authorization from the FDA.
Claims of effective ‘at home’ coronavirus testing kits have come under fire, after the U.K. government spent $20 million on unproven tests from China that ended up not working.
Key background: The global rush to produce a coronavirus treatment is on, with dozens of firms and scientists including in the U.S., U.K., Europe and China developing and trialling various drugs and vaccines. Scientists at Oxford say an experimental one could be ready by September. Meanwhile, the World Health Organization is working on a timeline of 12 to 18 months for a safe vaccine. It usually takes around 10 years for a vaccine to reach the market as it must go through several phases of trialling.
Big number: $456 million. That’s how much the U.S. government has spent ordering the development of a coronavirus vaccine from Janssen, Johnson & Johnson’s pharmaceutical arm. This is thought to be the biggest amount yet spent on a vaccine development project, Forbes reported last month.
Tangent: Harvard scientists have warned that social distancing measures could last until 2022, if a treatment for coronavirus is not found.
Further reading: The U.S. Just Signed A $450 Million Coronavirus Vaccine Contract With Johnson & Johnson (Forbes)
Coronavirus Drug Update: The Latest Info On Pharmaceutical Treatments And Vaccines (Forbes)
US may have to endure social distancing until 2022 if no vaccine is quickly found, scientists predict (CNN)
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