14:03 GMT31 October 2020
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    Swiss pharmaceutical giant Roche doesn’t expect a coronavirus vaccine to be ready for public use before the end of 2021 at the earliest.

    "I'm afraid that the most likely scenario is that we will not have a vaccine before the end of next year," Roche CEO Severin Schwan said during a Wednesday conference call with reporters, the Business Insider reported. He also noted that the 18-month timeline is “very ambitious.”

    Schwan said the pharmaceutical company is planning to launch coronavirus antibody tests in May, which will be able to determine whether someone has been exposed to COVID-19 by looking for antibodies in their blood which render them immune to it. Such tests might help people resume their normal lives, Schwan explained. 

    David Nabarro, a professor of global health at Imperial College London and a World Health Organization (WHO) envoy on COVID-19, also recently said that there is no guarantee that a successful vaccine will be developed, noting that some viruses are “very, very difficult when it comes to vaccine development.”

    However, other researchers are more optimistic about a vaccine being developed this year. Professor Sarah Gilbert of Oxford University said that under the best case scenario, her team would produce a vaccine by September. 

    Earlier this month, Gilbert told the Times of London that she was “80% confident” about the success of the vaccine her team is developing.

    "I think there's a high chance that it will work, based on other things that we have done with this type of vaccine," she said.

    "It's not just a hunch, and as every week goes by we have more data to look at," Gilbert added. Human trials for her team’s vaccine are expected to start some time this week.

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