Why a coronavirus vaccine could take way longer than a year

Considering the history and science behind making these drugs, “a year to 18 months would be absolutely unprecedented,” one expert warns.

Penn Presbyterian Medical Center is waiting for the wave. The staff at the Philadelphia hospital is anxiously bracing for the storm surge of coronavirus cases that has already swept over nearby New York and New Jersey, overwhelming those states’ health-care systems and stacking bodies in its wake.

“You go from thing to thing to thing, and at the end of the day you still have 20 things that you have to resolve because so much is happening,” says Judith O’Donnell, director of infection prevention and control at Penn Presbyterian.

Across the country, health-care providers like O’Donnell are facing these overwhelming conditions knowing it may be a long time until they can access a particularly useful weapon against this viral onslaught: a

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