'No way to know how long this might take': Developing a coronavirus vaccine
By Mark Webster in Geneva

The World Health Organization (WHO) has announced on Friday that it will seek to fast-track research into a vaccine for the novel coronavirus. 

But how long does it take to develop a vaccine?

The WHO's Christian Lindmeier says it's a three-step process involving searching for the right components for a vaccine, conducting experiments (that could be human or animal trials), and finally producing the vaccine. 

Looking for the right components, even though scientists know that the novel coronavirus belongs to the family of coronaviruses. is a stage that can't be accelerated and might take an indefinite amount of time.

Read more WHO forum will seek to fast-track vaccine

Once the vaccine is found, production could take any length, from six to nine months.

"If you add all this up, it's impossible to say when it might happen, but at the same time we can definitely say that this year might not be a good guess," said Lindmeier.

Pharmaceutical companies and researchers across the world are working into developing a vaccine.

Until that moment, the WHO advice is to focus on prevention and treatment of the patients.