Auburn University experts say COVID-19 vaccine could take 12 months

Samford Hall, Auburn University (Source: Jeffrey Etheridge | Auburn University)
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AUBURN, Ala. (WSFA) -- Coronavirus numbers across the state continue to increase, but infectious disease experts at Auburn University say an increase was expected.

“In the United States, Alabama and certainly in Georgia, they’re certainly going up, and that’s not surprising. I think the more people we test, the more people we’re gonna see, actually have the virus,” said Dr. Spencer Durham of Auburn University’s Harrison School of Pharmacy. “In the social distancing that we’re doing now, we’re not really going to see the effects of that for probably a couple more weeks, because the virus does have can have up to a 14-day incubation period. So, we really don’t know if the two weeks that we’re doing right now of social distancing, what that effect is going to be for a couple more weeks.”

Health experts say one of the best ways you can protect yourself against coronavirus is to stay at home, and of course, wash your hands regularly. If you have to leave your house, there are certain precautions that you should take.

“When you are when you do have to go out for different things. Try to make it as minimal as possible. If you do need to go to the grocery store, try to go in very quickly get out very quickly. I’ve been suggesting to people that they can wear gloves have lots of hand sanitizer if they have it available,” Durham said.

Durham said that you can spread the virus without showing symptoms.

“If someone does have the virus and they’re asymptomatic. They’re able to transmit it to others, and that’s really how the whole pandemic got started," Durham said.

Researchers are working to find a vaccine, but that could take some time.

“There are things that are being investigated. A lot of people are talking about hydroxychloroquine. That’s an old drug that we use for malaria treatments that can also be used for rheumatoid arthritis and lupus. That drug does have some efficacy against other coronaviruses, and so we’re hoping that it may be active against COVID-19 as well, but there’s really not good evidence that supports that yet,” Durham said. “Pharmacists, pharmaceutical scientists, medicinal chemists are working on some treatments to look at could this could some of the drugs that we already have be effective, and they’re also looking at some other treatments that might be effective. Multiple different places are trying to produce a vaccine. That takes a long time. You know, we’re probably looking at another 12 months before a vaccine would actually come out onto the market.”

Right now, health officials urge those infected to treat the symptoms and remained quarantined.

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