Why It Takes a Year or More to Develop a Vaccine

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Despite the push for a vaccine for the coronavirus known as COVID-19, to the consternation of most it is still 12 to 18 months away.

That’s because clinical trials are needed, and the vaccines will be given to people who are not already sick.

“[V]accines are given to healthy people as prevention,” David Relman, Stanford University professor of microbiology and immunology and senior fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies, told USA Today. “You don’t want to make healthy people sick.”

First, there’s the development phase, and after that, they are tested on animals for toxicity, dosage and how they are adminstered before human volunteers are ever brought into the picture.

“If the vaccine protects in animal models, it can be made pure enough to be tested on humans,” Bart Haynes, professor of medicine and immunology and director of the Duke Human Vaccine Institute, told the paper.

This all takes months, and goes through multiple phases. And it requires approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Still with COVID-19 killing almost 4,000 people worldwide and 22 in the United States already and no cure, people are desperate for vaccine quickly.

In the meantime, they are being told to limit exposure to others, especially if they are in a high risk group, such as those over 60, or have other health issues. All people are advised to wash their hands frequently, use hand sanitizer and avoid touching their faces.