A vaccine against COVID-19 can be ready for final tests before the year’s end, Germany’s regulatory institute for vaccines said on Thursday.

Professor Klaus Cichutek, president of the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut, told daily Mannheimer Morgen that he is hopeful ongoing vaccine research projects in Germany will achieve progress in the forthcoming months.

He said a vaccine candidate could be ready as early as the autumn for the final phase trials, in which its efficacy and safety will be evaluated, before an approval to use by the public.

“If all these clinical tests would be successful, we could discuss towards the end of this year, or early next year, how to proceed with the approval process,” he said.

In April, German biotechnology company BioNTech begun testing a possible COVID-19 vaccine on human volunteers after it received the authorization of Paul-Ehrlich-Institut.

Professor Cichutek said three other research centres in Germany were also expected to begin soon clinical trials for their vaccine candidates.

Scientists and researchers across the world are scrambling to find a vaccine for the novel coronavirus which originated in China last December, and infected nearly 4.38 million people worldwide, killing more than 298,000.

Until such a discovery, health experts are treating patients with anti-malaria drugs, including hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine, which have shown positive results for the coronavirus-related lung infection.

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