US scientists have not created a vaccine for the new coronavirus

26 March 2020
What was claimed

A vaccine for the new coronavirus has been created by US scientists and will be ready to use from next Sunday.

Our verdict

Whilst there are vaccines in development, it will likely be more than 18 months before they are ready to use. The image and videos accompanying the post are related to Covid-19 diagnostic tests, not vaccines.

Several posts shared on Facebook claim that a vaccine for the new coronavirus has been created by US scientists and will be ready to use from next Sunday. 

One post is accompanied by an image, which a viewer is likely to presume is of this new vaccine. 

The image is not of a vaccine. It is of Covid-19 diagnostic kits (Covid-19 is the name of the infection caused by the new coronavirus) made by a South Korean company. These kits are used to test whether the new coronavirus is present in an individual, not to prevent or cure the illness.

These posts also claim that the vaccine is “able to cure patient[s] within 3 hours after injection”. This is not how vaccines work.

Vaccines are a form of preventative healthcare, which are administered to build up immunity to a certain virus or type of bacteria before someone is exposed to it. Vaccines cannot cure an illness that a patient has already got. 

Some vaccines for Covid-19 are in development, but none are ready for general use yet. Institutes and pharmaceutical companies across the globe are working to create a vaccine to prevent infection from the new coronavirus, and there are reports that at least one of these (in Seattle) is being trialled in humans. 

However, vaccines must go through many tests before they are ready for use in the general population. Researchers from Imperial College London estimate that it may be 18 months or more before one is available.

Similar posts have shared the same claim about a new vaccine, with a video instead of an image. In the clip, President Trump and the CEO of Roche Diagnostics (a biotech company), are talking about the development of a diagnostic test for Covid-19. They are not talking about a vaccine.

This article is part of our work fact checking potentially false pictures, videos and stories on Facebook. You can read more about this—and find out how to report Facebook content—here. For the purposes of that scheme, we’ve rated this claim as false because the post falsely claims that a Covid-19 vaccine will be ready next week and inaccurately uses an image of diagnostic tests.

Full Fact fights bad information

Bad information ruins lives. It promotes hate, damages people’s health, and hurts democracy. You deserve better.