Bill Gates, whose foundation has been funding Covid-19 vaccine trials, said ten of the 100 vaccine candidates under development "are very promising."
During a Wednesday live chat with LinkedIn, Gates said the development efforts funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation will move at "full speed, … taking a little bit of risk on the side effects."
The ten promising vaccines include the Moderna-NIAID vaccine funded by an international consortium based in Oslo, Norway. It went into its first phase of human trials on March 16, and others will start testing within the next month.
However, Gates predicts that an effective Covid-19 vaccine is not likely until somewhere around September 2021.
He said the US would not be able to ease up on social distancing measures that have shut broad swathes of its economy until the end of May this year without risking a resurgence in cases.
Once the US has brought Covid-19 under control in the April-May time frame, "I do think that things like running factories, doing construction, going back to school, those things can be done," Gates said.
The good news, according to Gates, is that the world will not likely face another pandemic after Covid-19 because lessons learned about testing and surveillance, and internationally financed medical solutions now under way to respond to the current crisis.
He said the global community will be able to contain future human pathogens before they reach the "global, tragic scale" of the current one.
Gates said the research focus of his foundation, health authorities and pharmaceutical companies globally also includes therapeutics for the Covid-19 disease, such as antivirals, immunosuppressants or antibodies.
He added that such coordinated global infrastructure devoted to a medical response to pandemics could make effective therapeutics available within four to six months of an outbreak.
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