Citizen Reporter
Reporter
2 minute read
19 Mar 2020
4:18 pm

Covid-19 vaccine ‘might be available mid-2021’

Citizen Reporter

Preiser said people at high risk of being infected with the coronavirus should get a influenza vaccine shot to reduce the number of flu cases for the season.

Image: iStock

Stellenbosch University’s head of the Division of Medical Virology Professor Wolfgang Preiser says a vaccine for Covid-19 might be available before mid-2021, Cape Argus reported.

Preiser said people at high risk of being infected with the coronavirus should get a influenza vaccine shot to reduce the number of flu cases for the season, as it might place the healthcare system under immense pressure.

“It would likely cause a serious illness if someone got both flu and the coronavirus together, specifically those who are at high risk.

“Both diseases have nearly similar symptoms so one could have flu, but mistake it for the coronavirus and be placed in isolation while being tested,” he said.

Preiser said on average, more than 11,000 people in the country die due to the ordinary flu every year, which could be avoided if people were vaccinated.

General practitioner Dr Batsi Tawengwa said conflicting studies were being released while scientists were busy working on a vaccine.

“People are taking preventive measures including high doses of vitamin C, using respiratory masks, hand sanitizer and chloroquine because as there is fear over death.

“We are all at risk because people are hosts for coronavirus, but if sick people contract the virus, it will increase the risk,” Tawenga said.

He said infection control measures such as decreased contact, handwashing and sanitising, especially if coming in contact with people, and giving masks to sick people is more effective.

“We do not know where the virus came from and we are up for a challenge because the virus might be animal-borne initially.

“Scientists are working round the clock to find a cure or at least a vaccine that can be distributed to the general population before casualties reach apocalyptic proportions,” Tawengwa said.

Tawengwa rebutted Preiser’s claim, saying that scientists cannot estimate when a cure or vaccine will be available, but said that for now people should follow protocol.

Member of the steering committee of the People’s Health Movement, Professor Louis Reynold, said he was not aware of any efforts to find a cure or vaccine for the virus.

“But that doesn’t mean there aren’t any. Just don’t fall for fake news on this; check everything out carefully.”

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