First signs if a COVID-19 vaccine works possible in autumn: GAVI

FILE PHOTO: A computer image created by Nexu Science Communication together with Trinity College in Dublin, shows a model structurally representative of a betacoronavirus which is the type of virus linked to COVID-19, better known as the coronavirus linked to the Wuhan outbreak, shared with Reuters on February 18, 2020. NEXU Science Communication/via REUTERS THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. MANDATORY CREDIT/File Photo

ZURICH (Reuters) – First indications of the effectiveness of a potential vaccine against coronavirus may be available in the autumn, the head of the GAVI vaccine alliance told a Swiss newspaper, forecasting a long road from there to broad availability.

“Unfortunately, we really do not know which vaccine will work and whether there will be one at all. If we’re lucky, we’ll receive indications in autumn as to (a potential vaccine’s) effectiveness,” GAVI head Seth Berkley told NZZ am Sonntag in an interview published on Sunday.

“But there will still be a long way to go from there until an approved active substance becomes available in large quantities for the global population.”

Calling for globally coordinated efforts both to produce and share an eventual vaccine, Berkley said international agreement was needed to build up manufacturing capacity to rapidly produce a vaccine once one is found.

“(Countries) should work together in order to share in each other’s vaccines in case one’s own are not good,” he said, adding it was possible some vaccines would work better for younger people and others for older age groups.

He urged the Wealth Health Organization to issue clear guidelines on a vaccine’s use and distribution to prevent a vaccine first being made available to the rich at the expense of the people most in need.

Should an effective vaccine become available in an initially limited supply, it should first be used to immunize health personnel, he said.

Reporting by Brenna Hughes Neghaiwi; Editing by Mark Potter

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