A CORONAVIRUS vaccine may be available to the general public in Spain within the next year.
Spanish Science Minister, Pedro Duque said that Spaniards may have access to a COVID-19 vaccine as early as in six months.
Speaking at a news conference, Duque said that Spain is part of a group of seven European countries leading the EU’s negotiations with vaccine makers.
The other six EU countries are France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland and Sweden.
“We are optimistic that there will be a vaccine, that we will be able to determine which vaccine works best and that it will be available to the Spanish healthcare system when its safety and effectiveness have been sufficiently demonstrated,” said the 57-year-old.
“We believe that early next year is when we will have doses ready with all the necessary guarantees,” he added.
The need for a vaccine has pushed public institutions and private companies into manufacturing experimental vaccines before running thorough testing programmes.
“We don’t know if the first one will be the most effective one, or if we might have to wait for another one,” said Duque.
The plan is for a layered distribution scheme that will begin with at-risk groups, such as the elderly and healthcare workers.
The rest of the population will probably have to wait until 2022, according to former World Health Organisation (WHO) official, Marie-Paule Kieny.
There are currently 149 experimental vaccines against COVID-19 worldwide, with 17 of them already being tested on humans, according to the WHO.
Five research groups from Spain have developed prototypes and are testing them on animals, according to the Science Ministry.
“Within a few months, there is going to be national production of a vaccine that can be used on humans,” said Duque.
“I think this is a very positive outcome of the projects that we have funded,” added the Science Minister.
This comes as according to UK experts, dexamethasone, a cheap and widely available drug can apparently help save the lives of patients critically ill with coronavirus.