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Covid-19 vaccine still ‘likely to take a year or 18 months’ according to Irish health association

Several biopharmaceutical companies have medicines in various stages of development.

Image: Leah Farrell via RollingNews.ie

A VACCINE AGAINST Covid-19 is still around 18 months away, according to the Irish Pharmaceutical Health Association (IPHA).

The organisation said that scientists are making progress in the search for a vaccine but that a worldwide rollout of the medicine is still a long time away. 

A statement from the IPHA said “vaccines take time to develop – years, if not decades. But, due to the urgency of the pandemic, the timetable is being shortened. But scientists know that there can be no short-cuts on the testing needed to ensure a vaccine, or a treatment, is safe and effective”.

Several biopharmaceutical companies have medicines in various stages of development, and some existing medicines are in late phase clinical trials. 

In Ireland, the industry, in partnership with the Government, universities, the health authorities, charities and patient advocacy groups, is contributing to the pandemic response.

The IPHA said it is keeping manufacturing going, maintaining the supply chain, sharing information, insights and resources with the health authorities, helping charities and patient groups, and contributing to the search for vaccines and treatments. 

 Jon Barbour, Director of Medical Affairs, GSK Ireland, said: “The great challenge in the Covid-19 pandemic is to develop an effective vaccine quickly. The good news is that this is the first time in history that there has been such a concerted global effort and collaboration between pharmaceutical companies and research organisations to find a specific vaccine. According to the latest data from the World Health Organisation, there are three vaccine candidates in clinical evaluation and at least 67 vaccine candidates in preclinical evaluation globally.

“However, vaccine development is a lengthy, complex process and once a vaccine has come through the clinical trial process, the next challenge will be scaling up manufacturing to produce millions of doses which will require a partnership approach between pharmaceutical manufacturers that have the expertise and resources to produce vaccines to meet global need.”

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