China's CDC chief: COVID-19 vaccine may be ready for emergency use by September

As global COVID-19 cases continue to surge, scientists worldwide have been busy working on potential treatments and effective vaccines. How close are we to developing a specific drug against COVID-19? According to Dr. Gao Fu, head of China's Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a vaccine may be ready for emergency use by September.

"It always takes time to develop a vaccine or a specific drug," Gao said, adding that because the vaccine will be used on the healthy population, we must ensure the vaccine we are developing is safe and efficient, and really works for the people.  

However, under the ever-evolving situation and considering if we might have an emergency outbreak again in the future, Gao suggested: "We might have a vaccine to be used for emergency," and the first vaccine may be inoculated to the healthcare workers once proven effective during clinical trials. He also suggested that a vaccine for healthy people may be ready by early next year, and that all depends on vaccine development.  

At the moment, China has already approved two COVID-19 inactivated vaccine candidates for clinical trials, according to China's Joint Prevention and Control Mechanism of the State Council – adenovirus-based recombinant vaccine and inactivated vaccine, which are still in second and third phase of clinical trials respectively.