Around the world, some of the best minds are working to find a vaccine for the coronavirus, with some teams saying a vaccine could be a reality in just five months.
While industry experts have said a vaccine could be developed and distributed globally in 12 to 18 months, one team working out of the United Kingdom has claimed a vaccine could be available by September.
Sarah Gilbert, a professor of vaccinology at Oxford University is leading a team of researchers working on a vaccine for COVID-19.
Speaking to The Times, Professor Gilbert said she and her team had already created a potential vaccine and human trials are set to begin in just two weeks.
Not only that, she is “80 per cent” confident the vaccine will be a success “based on other things that we have done with this type of vaccine”.
Australian researchers in Queensland and Victoria are among to scientists working towards a vaccine but most health experts have warned any vaccine would still be more than a year away after human trials, while some epidemiologists believe an effective vaccine might not be achieved at all.
At a press conference on Sunday, a reporter pressed Australia’s chief medical officer Brendan Murphy for his thoughts on the possibility of a vaccine by September.
“The Israelis have made a similar statement in the media this morning. It is too early to tell,” he said.
“If there is any disease for which vaccine development will be accelerated, it is this one.”
He did add it was “hard” because “coronavirus vaccines have not been successful before”, referring to the family of viruses to which SARS-CoV-2 belongs.
“There are so many people working on this [a vaccine] now, so many brilliant scientists, including many in Australia, that we can hope but we cannot be unrealistic and none of these announcement that I have heard give me enough confidence to say that those dates will be met but these are reputable universities,” Mr Murphy said, referring to the optimistic timeline announce this weekend by the Oxford University scientists.
Public restrictions here to stay
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said restrictions were being reviewed every month, but social distancing would be needed until a vaccine was found.
“No matter what restrictions there are in the future, no matter what restrictions are potentially eased in the future, until a vaccine is found, social distancing is a way of life now,” she told reporters earlier this week.
That sentiment was echoed on Sunday by NSW Health Minister and the country’s chief medical officer.
“We have to keep our pressure on and make sure that we don't end up like countries in the world that you have all seen on the news,” Mr Murphy said Sunday.
“We are in a good place ... but we have to maintain that good place.”
Meanwhile, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen told a German newspaper she was hopeful a vaccine would be developed by the end of the year.
In her opinion, two of the most promising research teams are based in Europe, Ms von der Leyen told the German Sunday newspaper Bild am Sonntag.
"I hope they develop a vaccine towards the end of the year," the EU politician asserted, noting that there are plans to start clinical tests soon.
Researchers have also expressed optimism as human trials for a potential vaccine got underway in the United States last month.
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