COVID-19 vaccine could be available early next year, says Czech pharmaceutical association

The Czech vaccine project started too late but the country should participate in European vaccine research says pharma head

ČTK

Written by ČTK
Published on 04.06.2020 14:22 (updated on 04.06.2020)

Prague, June 4 (CTK) – An effective vaccine against COVID-19 is likely to be available by the beginning of next year, Czech Association of Innovative Pharmaceutical Industry managing director Jakub Dvořáček told journalists today.

Ten vaccine candidates are being clinically tested in the world and further 123 possible vaccines are before clinical trials, he said, adding that several of the ten candidates are in the second of the three stages of the testing.

Czech vaccine development began too late and the country should take part in the European activities so that it can get vaccines when they are available, Dvořáček said.

“We should primarily try to cooperate within Europe,” he said.

This seems a far more efficient way to provide enough vaccines because the European Union has a strong negotiation power for equal handling of vaccines, he added.

More than six million people have got infected with COVID-19 in the world and more than 369,000 of them have died. The Czech Republic has recorded more than 9,400 infected persons and 324 deaths of COVID-19 patients since March 1.

Dvořáček said pharmaceutical companies use the experience from the development of vaccines against SARS, MERS, and Ebola diseases.

Their cooperation with academic research centers, doctors, and hospitals as well as regulators, like the European Medicines Agency (EMA) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), has become quicker and more effective during the new coronavirus pandemic, he said.

It is estimated that the development of the vaccine would take 12 to 18 months. The companies started developing it in January and some of them have already reserved their capacities for the production of billions of vaccines against COVID-19 for the end of the year and the beginning of next year, Dvořáček said.

Any activities in the development of vaccines are welcomed, but the Czech project started too late and it seems impossible to catch up with the other countries. Moreover, Czechia is not considered a country important in the field of vaccines, he said.

The Health Ministry announced in early May that the development of a vaccine against COVID-19 has been launched. The National Institute of Public Health (SZU), the Institute of Hematology and Blood Transfusion (UHKT), and the Institute for Clinical and Experimental Medicine (IKEM) are to cooperate on the project costing tens of millions of crowns.

Some Czech vaccination experts said the project does not raise their confidence and they recommended to join the European effort to develop a vaccine.