Dr. Manfred Green
Director of University of Haifa's international Master's program in Public Health and former
head of the public health branch for the Israel Defense Forces, and founding director of the Israel Center for Disease Control, believes that a
vaccine to treat the coronavirus could take at least 18 months until it reaches the general public.
Said Green: "Developing vaccines is extremely difficult. It takes years, not days or months. There are new technologies now that we hope will speed up that process. But if you think about it, even in the best scenario, even if a vaccine is available it would take several steps until it's ready for distribution to the general public. It would have to be tested on animals and then a small number of people first. So you're not going to vaccinate millions of people before it's been thoroughly tested. Even if a vaccine is produced very soon, it could take a year and a half until it's given to the public."
Addressing reports that Israeli scientists are on the cusp of developing the first vaccine against the virus, he went on to say: "Israel needs to be modest and make sure that we are involved in the process to develop the vaccine. But the US, China and Europe also have advanced infrastructure and talented scientists working at this. It's a joint effort. We need international cooperation."
Dr. Green gave advice for people experiencing coronavirus symptoms: “For the younger population – up to 50 – these people will have no problem staying home and avoiding crowds and work. They’ll recover by drinking plenty of fluids and rest. They must stay away from others. Anyone who has a fever or a mild cold should definitely not go to work. For people who are older or have underlying conditions, if they have a fever and respiratory issues they should immediately contact a health practitioner."