Coronavirus vaccine update: When will a coronavirus vaccine be ready?

A coronavirus vaccine is the world's best hope for a return to "normal" life, with up to 100 jabs currently in development. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has only noted a few entering the latter stages of development, however. Those select few still have a while to go, and officials have warned against banking hopes on one reaching completion.

When will a coronavirus vaccine be ready?

The WHO is tracking vaccines currently in development, with nine near completion.

Vaccines must undergo rigorous large-scale efficacy tests before they acquire a license and enter general circulation.

Included among those in the penultimate stage of testing are the Oxford-AstraZeneca jab and American version local health officials hope could come into limited use by November.

The British vaccine does not yet have a proposed release, with researchers plugging a "mid-2021" debut.

British Chief Medical Officer Professor Chris Whitty has released a more cautious time frame, however.

He told reporters there was a "reasonable chance" of a vaccine before the winter of 2021.

Although he added science would "get us out of this hole", he said officials should assume one wouldn't come "before this side of Christmas".

He said: "I would obviously be delighted if it came earlier, but I'd be quite surprised if we had a highly effective vaccine ready for mass use in a large percentage of the population before the end of winter, certainly before this side of Christmas.

"A lot of people are doing a huge amount scientifically, logistically to make sure that's a pessimistic statement, to try and see if we can get a vaccine at extraordinarily fast speed, but we have to check it works and we have to make sure it's safe.

"So I think if we look forward a year, the chances are much greater than if we look forward six months.

"We should plan on the basis we will not have a vaccine and then if one does prove to be effective and safe and available, we're in a strong position to be able to use it."

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He added: "I'm confident in the long-term in the ability of science to get us out of this hole but I don't think we can expect it to happen in the next few weeks or even the next few months."

Vaccine development outside of a pandemic is a lengthy process, often taking years, and in some cases decades.

Scientists have to juggle urgency with safety and ensure a finalised product doesn't create unnecessary risks.

The process is near-universal in the western world thanks to strict licensing criteria, but some countries run with their own rules.

Vladimir Putin claimed Russian scientists successfully developed the world's first effective jab with full approval.

The Russian vaccine received regulatory approval last month, and officials announced plans for mass administration by October.

But scientists have raised concerns, suggesting Mr Putin cut corners to get the jab - named Sputnik-V - into circulation ahead of the rest of the world.

The WHO has asked them to follow international guidelines and requested a review of the final product.

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