A vaccine could be ready for another outbreak of coronavirus

Professor Robin Shattock, head of mucosal infection and immunity at Imperial College London, said he is now at the stage to start testing the vaccine on animals as early as next week with human studies in the summer if enough funding is secured.

He told Sky News: "Conventional approaches usually take at least two to three years before you even get to the clinic. And we've gone from that sequence to generating a candidate in the laboratory in 14 days.

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"And we will have it in animal models by the beginning of next week. We've short-tracked that part. The next phase will be to move that from early animal testing into the first human studies.

"And we think with adequate funding we could do that in a period of a few months.

"Professor Shattock is part of a global effort to develop a vaccine that could potentially save hundreds or thousands of lives if this coronavirus outbreak develops into a full blown pandemic.

The vaccine will be too late for this current outbreak but it will be crucial if there is another one.

He said: "It's not going to be too late if this becomes a pandemic and if it circulates around the world. We still don't know much about the epidemic itself so it may wane over the summer months if it is like influenza.

"We may see a second wave come through on a global basis and if it comes a vaccine will be really important and would be in place to tackle that."

Scientists from China, the United States, Australia and Europe are all racing to develop a vaccine and are collaborating with each other in an effort to speed up the process.

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