We’ve never made a successful vaccine for a coronavirus before. This is why it’s so difficult

For those pinning their hopes on a COVID-19 vaccine to return life to normal, an Australian expert in vaccine development has a reality check — it probably won’t happen soon.

While we have several successful vaccines for many different types of viruses, developing one for this coronavirus isn’t simply a matter of switching out one virus for another.

Just because we’ve got a really good vaccine against polio doesn’t mean the same thing will work with coronavirus, because it’s so different.

Larisa Labzin, an immunologist from the University of Queensland

Scientists haven’t been able to develop successful vaccines for any type of coronavirus so far. Part of that challenge is because coronaviruses infect the upper respiratory system where the immune system doesn’t reach very well.