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Trials for a possible vaccine for COVID-19 are well underway. However, the EU's top strategist has warned that one might not be ready for at least a year. And that was in an "optimistic" scenario.
The European Medicine Agency (EMA) said on Thursday that approving a vaccine in a year is an "optimistic" take on tackling the novel coronavirus pandemic.
"We can see the possibility if everything goes as planned that some of them (vaccines) could be ready for approval in a year from now, so beginning of 2021," said Marco Cavaleri, who heads the EMA's vaccine division.
Public health authorities across the globe have pushed for expanding cutting-edge research of COVID-19 in a bid to develop a vaccine, viewed by experts as the best way to end the devastating pandemic.
However, Cavaleri said there could be delays along the way.
"These are just forecasts based on what we are seeing," he said. "But again I have to stress that this is a best-case scenario, we know not all vaccines that come into development may not make it to authorization and disappear."
European countries have pledged billions of euros towards developing a vaccine, with Germany offering up to €750 million ($810 million) for research, development and distribution.
Earlier this month, EMA Executive Director Guido Rasi said one of his agency's top priorities is "supporting the development and marketing authorization of safe, effective and high-quality therapeutics and vaccines as soon as possible."
"However, the rapid approval of therapeutics and vaccines will only be possible if applications are supported by robust and sound scientific evidence that allows EMA to conclude on a positive benefit-risk balance for these products."
Europe is one of the hardest-hit continents in the world, with Italy, Spain, France, Germany and the UK among the top ten in number of infections and coronavirus-related deaths.
ls/rt (Reuters, AFP)