A top US scientist said on Wednesday that governments should not count on a successful vaccine against Covid-19 being developed anytime soon when deciding whether to ease restrictions imposed to curb the pandemic.
William Haseltine, a groundbreaking researcher of cancer, HIV/AIDS and human genome projects, said the better approach now is to manage the disease through careful tracing of infections and strict isolation measures whenever it starts spreading. While a Covid-19 vaccine could be developed, he said, “I wouldn’t count on it.”
Vaccines developed previously for other types of coronavirus had failed to protect mucous membranes in the nose where the virus typically enters the body, he said. Even without an effective treatment or vaccine, the virus can be controlled by identifying infections, finding people who have been exposed and isolating them, he said. He urged people to wear masks, wash hands, clean surfaces and keep a distance.—Agencies