PUTRAJAYA: A vaccine for Covid-19 is expected to be available in the market in about a year as tests and research on it is still at the early phase, according to Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah.

He said the World Health Organisation (WHO) are still looking into a few compounds and research to develop a vaccine for this disease.

“So it will take probably about a year or a year and a half before we can get the vaccine in the market.

“Research is ongoing and hopefully by doing the research, we can get the vaccine as soon as possible,“ he said at the daily Covid-19 media briefing, here today.

In another development, Dr Noor Hisham said the Health Ministry (MOH) had accepted several Covid-19 patients who have recovered as volunteers for research on blood plasma.

“Two or three patients who have recovered are coming forward to contribute to science and technology.

“They are donating their blood to help MOH carry out research and for science to look at the viscosity of antibodies (which will be used to treat Covid-19 patients),” he said.

He added that MOH would earlier screen blood donors (former patients) to ensure they are free of the virus and of other infections such as Hepatitis C and so on.

MOH will also conduct Covid-19 test on the blood donors to ensure they are really free of the virus.

“After that, MOH will take blood from them and separate it into red blood cells and plasma. The plasma will later be sent to IMR (Institute for Medical Research) to study its antibody viscosity.

“The procedure will be repeated after two weeks. If the antibody viscosity is high, then MOH may use the plasma from the patient to treat other patients,” he added. - Bernama