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Coronavirus: A vaccine candidate 'could be ready in September' says vaccinologist

coronavirus 22/04/2020

Some top scientists are calling on the government to invest into a vaccine for Covid-19. Dr Helen Petousis-Harris, a vaccinologist at the University of Auckland joined Leah Panapa to talk about the vaccine.

New Zealand may be well down the bottom of the list to get a vaccine, Dr Petousis-Harris says, and currently a group of researchers in Otago are growing and testing the virus.

On the cost of developing a vaccine, Dr Petousis-Harris says anywhere from 1-2 billion dollars with one candidate.

We need different ways of approaching this.

When you get to the clinical stage, it can get quite expensive, she explains.

Dr Petousis-Harris says working with other countries rather than coming up with our own vaccine would be a “realistic option to consider.”

Two of the biggest players in vaccines are working together without profit, although most say the vaccine won't be ready for at least 12-18 months.

Best case scenario, a candidate could be ready in September 

If everything goes right, Dr Petousis-Harris adds.

When asked whether once recovered from Covid-19 if an individual can become re-effected,  Dr Petousis-Harris replied “I don't think anybody can give you a straight answer for that.”

Will we see countries stopping international travels if people havn't had the vaccine in the future? Leah asks.

“Depends what the vaccine is like at the time,”  Dr Petousis-Harris says. 

“We are so much better prepared,” she enthuses, on if there were to be another (inevitable) pandemic.

You have to have some strategies already in place before it happens.

Listen to the interview above.