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What do you make of the halting of some high-profile vaccine trials this week?
“I would say that something like is relatively common. When we’re looking at trials that can incorporate as many as 50,000 people, I wouldn’t say it’s too unique that you’re going to have the potential of a halted trial whereby due to some kind of complication or due to some sort of an ailment that you have to do further investigations.
“Is the scientific rigour in any question considering the urgency of trying to get something out and the rapidity with which we’re going through this development process for some of the key candidate vaccines? By ceasing your own trial — and not being forced to do so by (the U.S Food and Drug Administration) — it is an indicator that you actually have good safety measures that are in place.”
Is it likely to be an annual or one-time vaccine, or could there be several versions around the world?
“A lot of these questions depend on the type of vaccine that’s coming forward and whether it’s more of a universal approach versus something that is really just strictly for (COVID-19)… It also depends on the type of vaccine that you’re developing… It may not be for all age groups and could only be for, for instance, adults from 18 to 40…
“While we have several (vaccine) candidates, not all of them are going to make it in the end to final approval. So having a number of shots on net is important for a number of reasons for a lot of these variables… We don’t really know the trajectory of what COVID-19 is going to look like, and what does COVID-20 look like…”
Is it possible that treatment is the best option or will this pandemic end with a vaccine?
“I do not doubt that it will eventually end in a vaccine. I do think the important part to understand here is that the development of a vaccine is not a simple thing… One thing I can say is that to see the development process working this quickly with this number of (vaccine) candidates is unseen. This is truly a unique time in history on the scientific level.”