Coronavirus vaccine year-and-a-half away, says Haifa University expert

March 16, 2020 by Benjamin Brown - TPS
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A vaccine for the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) could be at least one and a half years away, a public health expert from the University of Haifa warned on Sunday.

Infographic of the Coronavirus. Feb 22, 2020. Photo by Kobi Richter/TPS

Dr. Manfred Green, the university’s Director of the International Master’s in Public Health, stated that “developing vaccines is extremely difficult,” and it would take years, “not days or months” to develop a vaccine for Coronavirus.

“Even if a vaccine is produced very soon, it could take a year and a half until it’s given to the public,” Green said, explaining the thorough testing process necessary before a vaccine could be put on the market.

Green also called for international cooperation in the development of the vaccine, stating that Israel needed to be “modest” and would have to work together with Chinese, American and European researchers after numerous reports of Israeli scientists being close to developing a COVID-19 vaccine.

The Coronavirus spread may well continue into next winter, Green stated, warning China might see another wave once it returns to its normal routine.

“They’ve reduced the spread dramatically, but it’s quite common in these situations for a next wave to come. Remember, 95% of the Chinese population has never been exposed. We are playing it by ear and watching what happens elsewhere. We’ll have to reevaluate every week,” he explained.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced Saturday night that Israel was entering an almost full lockdown to stave off the spread of Coronavirus.

With some 200 documented patients, Netanyahu announced a full shutdown of the school system, of all public entertainment areas, public venues and shopping centers, and called on Israel’s citizens to stay home if there was no real need otherwise.

“We are fighting for life and public health – there are thousands of dead in the world. Countries in the world are learning from us. New Zealand noted that Israeli policy has proven to be correct and they are adopting it. We are ahead of many countries in the world,” Netanyahu stated at the press conference.

“We are looking ahead into the future and know that it will be difficult to continue in this situation – but we are among the countries in the best position in the world,” he added.

All gatherings of over 10 people are banned, and religious gatherings were limited to a minimum.

Public transportation will be limited, and only a few passengers will be allowed to board.

Netanyahu stressed that food markets and pharmacies would remain open and that there was no need to stock up on food.

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