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Coronavirus Vaccine Developed In Short Time Unlikely To Be Safe, International Vaccine Institute Says

Neer Varshney

A novel coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine developed and approved in a rush may prove to be unsafe, according to International Vaccine Institute Director-General Jerome Kim.

What Happened

"We don't know that a vaccine that's developed in four months — or I guess 12 to 18 months, which is the current estimate — is really safe," Kim told CNBC, as reported Thursday.

According to Kim, it takes anywhere between five to 10 years to roll out vaccines using typical procedures.

Kim further told CNBC that there had been a special urgency to develop a vaccine for COVID-19, with a majority of countries suffering the outbreak, and that has resulted in a "significant amount of funding" for pharmaceutical companies to develop a vaccine.

It's "really a remarkable thing," the IVI head said, but warned that 93% of the vaccines fail clinical trials.

Moderna Inc. (NASDAQ: MRNA) was the first company to begin clinical trials of its COVID-19 vaccine in April, followed recently by Inovio Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: INO). The phase one trial of Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ) is also expected to begin later this year.

When asked about President Donald Trump's claim that antimalarial drugs hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine are helping for coronavirus patients, Kim told CNBC that more research and evidence is needed.

"We are going to hope to test this to make sure that either this allows people to get off ventilators quickly...or it keeps people out of hospitals..or that it decreases the period of time that a patient is infectious," Kim said, adding that the concern isn't just over the drug's safety.

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