Germany’s Health Minister Jens Spahn said he is confident that a vaccine for the coronavirus will be ready next year. He earlier urged everyone to stay vigilant amid an uptick in Covid-19 cases.

Spahn refused to state a specific month when a vaccine would be ready, emphasizing that scientists and the public must work together to create a vaccine “faster than ever before in the history of humanity.”

“I’m optimistic that in the next months, and certainly in the next year, there can be a vaccine,” he told ZDF TV channel.

Spahn’s message comes after the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) recorded 1,226 new Covid-19 cases in the country on Wednesday, the highest daily increase since early May. Spahn called this figure “very worrying,” urging Germans to stay vigilant.

The RKI itself added fuel to the public’s anxiety surrounding expectations of cure for the coronavirus, when on Wednesday it published a paper on its website saying that “one or several vaccines seem possible by autumn 2020.” The institute later claimed that it was an outdated version of the paper published by mistake, and has removed it. 

There are more than 200 vaccines currently in development worldwide, and several of them have entered crucial phase-three clinical trials. Earlier this week, Russian President Vladimir Putin revealed that Moscow had become the first nation to register a vaccine. The drug, dubbed ‘Sputnik V,’ however, is yet to complete its phase-three trials and to be peer-reviewed. 

Spahn said he was “very skeptical” about the news on Sputnik V, warning that “it can be dangerous to start vaccinating millions, if not billions, of people too early.”

Despite some skepticism, Kirill Dmitriev, the head of Russian Direct Investment Fund, told reporters on Tuesday that Moscow had received “preliminary requests” from 20 countries to buy a billion doses of the vaccine.

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