A coronavirus vaccine is “not a certainty”, according to the Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan.
This comes after medical journal The Lancet reported today that the first clinical trial of a potential vaccine for Covid-19 jab found it to be safe, well-tolerated, and able to generate an immune response against the infection.
Promising results were reported after 28 days, but the final results will be evaluated in six months.
However, at this evening’s Department of Health press briefing, Dr Holohan said that the jab has been successful in very early stages of testing and its production cannot be held as a “certainty”.
“We can't regard the production of a vaccine as a certainty, there are technical challenges that have to be overcome. But we’re hopeful, the world is hopeful that we can get a vaccine,” he said.
He said that even if a vaccine which produces immunity in people can be made, questions remain unanswered.
“There are still questions I don’t know the answers to, like how strong the immunity might be, how long lasting the immunity might be.”
The CMO added that manufacturing and the distribution of the jab would also pose a challenge as the entire world will be “looking for this vaccine”
“We would have the challenge of it being manufactured at sufficient scale, being made available and distributed around the world, whether there would be a vaccine that only one company would be successful in developing, whether there would be a vaccine that a number of companies would be successful in developing, that would remain to be seen,” he said.
Dr Holohan said that it would have to be distributed “quickly and equitably” as “the whole world will be looking for this vaccine” at the same time.
However, he warned that we cannot be “certain” that a vaccine will be produced.
“There isn’t a certainty at this point in time that that’s where we’ll be, vaccine development is never something you can be certain about in advance”.
As few as 50,000 people - just 1pc of the population - may have been infected by the coronavirus, leaving the nation with low immunity and at risk of a second wave if rules are not followed.