Bill Gates, whose foundation is focusing its efforts to fight the coronavirus, doesn’t think life will return to normal until there’s a viable vaccine that can stop its spread. The good news is that it may take less time than many have been predicting, Bloomberg reports.
“Dr. Anthony Fauci has said he thinks it’ll take around eighteen months to develop a coronavirus vaccine,” Gates wrote in a blog post published Thursday. “I agree with him, though it could be as little as 9 months or as long as two years.”
Even if it takes 18 months, that would still be the fastest that scientists have created a new vaccine, Gates said, adding that he’s thinks eight to ten of the 115 current COVID-19 vaccine candidates look promising.
“I’m particularly excited by two new approaches that some of the candidates are taking: RNA and DNA vaccines,” he wrote. “It might be a bit hard to see right now, but there is a light at the end of the tunnel.”
• “For COVID-19, financing development is not an issue. Governments and other organizations (including our foundation and an amazing alliance called the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations) have made it clear they will support whatever it takes to find a vaccine.”
• “Compressing the trial timeline isn’t the only way to take a process that usually takes five years and get it done in 18 months. Another way we’re going to do that is by testing lots of different approaches at the same time.”
• “Since we might not have time to domulti-year studies, we will have to conduct robust phase 1 safety trials and make sure we have good real-world evidence that the vaccine is completely safe to use.”
• “I suspect a vaccine that is at least 70 percent effective will be enough to stop the outbreak. A 60 percent effective vaccine is useable, but we might still see some localized outbreaks.”
• “What we can do now is build different kinds of vaccine factories to prepare. Each vaccine type requires a different kind of factory. We need to be ready with facilities that can make each type, so that we can start manufacturing the final vaccine (or vaccines) as soon as we can.”
• “We’re doing the right things to get a vaccine as quickly as possible. In the meantime, I urge you to continue following the guidelines set by your local authorities. Our ability to get through this outbreak will depend on everyone doing their part to keep each other safe.”