Seems like the theme to a blockbuster Hollywood movie, scientists are frantically searching for a vaccine to eliminate a deadly virus that has spread around the world infecting millions and by the end, they succeed and manage to save the entire planet from doom. It makes a great script and a great idea for a movie, but the real world isn't always as positive as we see on tv.

With the recent Zika, and Ebola virus outbreaks within the past decade, the numbers saw a slower spread and infection rate before treatments eventually became available. The new Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCov) has seen an accelerated rise in cases. In a 24 hour span, there were reports of almost 3000 confirmed cases of humans who had contracted the coronavirus which is spreading at an extremely alarming rate.

"None of that even comes close to what might be needed to protect the world’s population in the worst-case scenario."

The Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) has been tasked with $12.5 million dollars of funding to three pharma labs to produce a preliminary treatment. Scientists speculate it could take upwards of 2 months for there to be a vaccine ready for animal testing.

Once candidate vaccines are available, researchers will test them in animals to see whether they are safe and produce an immune response. If so, companies will have to receive regulatory approvals to launch phase I human trials, which test the safety and immune responses in small numbers of volunteers who are not at risk of the disease. In the case of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, approval typically takes 1 month. Scientists believe after the animal trials are complete and successful and have gone through the proper authorities it could take upwards of 3 months for human trials to begin.

Even when experimental vaccines work in clinical trials, mass producing them quickly is inevitably a huge challenge. If all three labs currently tasked with producing a vaccine all worked together they would only be able to produce 100 million doses of the vaccine in a single year. None of that even comes close to what might be needed to protect the world’s population in the worst-case scenario.