In a recent interview with Harvard professor Tsedal Neeley, Merck CEO Ken Frazier warned that these predicted timelines are doing “a grave disservice to the public.” For one thing, he said, vaccine development takes time. The fastest vaccine ever developed before now was the mumps vaccine, which took four years.
President Donald Trump has promised that there will be a coronavirus vaccine before the year is out. But public health experts are growing increasingly worried that the White House will pressure regulators to approve the first vaccine candidate to show promise — without proof that it provides effective, reliable protection against the virus.
On January 19, a 35-year-old man walked into an urgent care center in Snohomish County, Washington, with a cough and a fever. Four days earlier, he had returned from a trip to Wuhan, China. But he was almost certainly not the true first. Since then, a growing number of puzzle pieces have revealed a different picture of the beginning of the country's outbreak.
Sir John Bell, the Regius Professor of Medicine at Oxford University, said Sunday that researchers at the university working on a potential vaccine for the coronavirus would likely have an idea of its efficacy by June. Bell called the chances of success in developing a vaccine “pretty good,” adding “we are gradually reeling it in, bit by bit and as every day goes by, the likelihood of success goes up.”