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Expert has tough prediction on time frame for Covid-19 vaccine and end to travel restrictions

The Government today announced it'll spend $37 million as part of a global effort to develop a vaccine against Covid-19.

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Professor Graham Le Gros from the Malaghan Institute gives his thoughts. Source: Seven Sharp

But can we do it? And how long could it be before it's available to use?

Seven Sharp put these questions to Professor Graham Le Gros from the Malaghan Institute, who is positive we could get it done.

"Yes, with this strategy we can really do it.

"The strategy is backed up with money across some key areas, we've got some great scientists around New Zealand who are really good at vaccine design and immunology and vaccine testing at a clinical level," Professor Le Gros said.

When asked how long it could be before we see needles going to arms, he said "we need to be careful with the answer to that" with the health and economic implications it comes with.

"But if I was forced to say, I'd say it will be two years, and I'm being really sensible with that, if it's too short it's silly and people get false ideas."

Government to spend $37 million as New Zealand joins global search for Covid-19 vaccine

Professor Le Gros is erring on the side of caution due to the time it takes to test a vaccine and prove its efficacy.

"We need to know it can protect people for a decent amount of time," he says.

He also believes Covid-19 will still be with us in two years time, due to the massive global population it can infect.

"The two year time frame is a really hard thing and the Government really needs to plan on how it can protect the economy until there is a vaccine and we can re-open our borders again."