Laboratory Staff At The Pasteur Institute Work On The CoronavirusPhoto by Sylvain Lefevre / Getty Images

Scientists and drug companies are racing to develop and test treatments and vaccines that address COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. Work on both is progressing at an unprecedented speed — but researchers are starting essentially from scratch on vaccine development, so the process is going to take a long time. Treatments, on the other hand, were further along when the outbreak started and might be available sooner.

“They’re in vastly different situations right now,” says Florian Krammer, a professor and vaccine development expert at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.

Both treatments and vaccines are important for a robust and effective response to the outbreak. Treatments help people after they already have…

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