NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — As the coronavirus pandemic rages on, many are putting their hopes on a vaccine to end the health crisis.

But how long will it really take for one to become available and how long will it last in your system? CBS2’s Dr. Max Gomez has more in his latest Max Minute report.

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As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to spread unabated across much of the country, the nation holds on to the hope that a vaccine is what will finally allow us to begin a return to whatever normal will be.

But is that hope and the promised delivery timeline realistic?


While there are as many as 100 candidate vaccines in development around the world, there are perhaps a half-dozen outside of China that have begun actual human testing. The final Phase 3 is by far the most time consuming, normally requiring years and tens of thousands of volunteers to test a vaccine for effectiveness and especially for safety because vaccines can actually make a disease much worse.

Then there’s the question of how long a vaccine’s immunity will last.

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“If you look at the neutralizing antibody from recovered patient, as Dr. Fauci said, it only lasts three-to-six months, so that’s very short duration,” said Dr. Henry Ji, CEO of Sorrento Therapeutics.

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Sorrento is one of the companies with a vaccine in development. Others have announced positive test results in either Phase 2 or 3 human trials. What none of the companies have announced is whether they will attempt human challenge trials in Phase 3, where volunteers will be deliberately infected with coronavirus. That is the only way to speed up vaccine testing.

Without human challenge trials, Phase 3 vaccine testing usually takes years, making the often cited end-of-the-year vaccine availability wildly optimistic in the view of many impartial experts. So, for now, please wear a mask and practice social distancing.

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