Coronavirus: Global alliance of scientists hope to create vaccine in record time

‘This is an extremely ambitious timeline – indeed, it would be unprecedented in the field of vaccine development’

Shaun Lintern
Health Correspondent
Monday 03 February 2020 07:58
Comments
A vaccine against coronavirus could be being tested within months
A vaccine against coronavirus could be being tested within months

Scientists are hoping to develop a potential vaccine against the Chinese coronavirus within 16 weeks, ready for clinical trials that would last four months.

The head of the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) said the rapid development would be unprecedented in vaccine history.

CEPI, a public-private partnership launched in 2017 to develop new vaccines to stop future epidemics, is being given £20m by the UK government to help fund the efforts as the UK and countries around the world try to prevent the coronavirus spreading further.

It has already infected more than 14,000 people around the world, including two people in the UK, and more than 300 people have died.

CEPI was originally created in response to the west Africa Ebola virus outbreak.

Dr Richard Hatchett, chief executive of CEPI, said the money came at a “crucial moment as the world races to respond to the emergence of a novel coronavirus. The rapid global spread and unique epidemiological characteristics of the virus are deeply concerning.”

He added: “Our hope is that, with our partners, we can get an investigational vaccine from gene sequencing of the pathogen through to clinical testing in 16 weeks. The earliest stage of clinical trials, to establish the safety of investigational vaccines, would take around two to four months.

“This is an extremely ambitious timeline – indeed, it would be unprecedented in the field of vaccine development. It is important to remember that even if we are successful – and there can be no guarantee – there will be further challenges to navigate before we can make vaccines more broadly available.”

On a visit to the government’s Porton Down research facility health secretary Matt Hancock said the money would help find new vaccines.

Mr Hancock said: “Vaccines are our best defence against a host of deadly diseases, including coronavirus.

“The £20m announced today will help our globally recognised vaccine development capabilities continue to develop new defences against emerging diseases including coronavirus. It’s paramount we invest in vital research about infectious diseases, keeping the UK at the forefront of modern-day science so we can share this knowledge globally.”

The government is also in talks between the National Institute for Health Research and the UK Research and Innovation quango to run a rapid research call to support the global response to the coronavirus.

Last week the government announced a £58.7m funding boost for a separate research project to protect the health of the nation from threats like antimicrobial resistance and infectious diseases.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in