A scientist working on the development trials of a coronavirus vaccine has shared an “astonishing” update. Sir John Bell, a Regius Professor of Medicine at Oxford University, had said in the past that a mass vaccine wouldn’t be available until the beginning of next year earliest. However, he has now revealed to Channel 4 News that although this time scale is “still possible”, there is also a possibility that one could reach the country by the end of September.
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Sir John said: “There is one vaccine that looks like it could beat those numbers, and perhaps be available for by the end of September.
“That’s the vaccine developed by my institute in Oxford.
“I think it’s possible that we’ll see efficacy data by the summer.
“In which case, if we’re on our toes, and get regulation approval by August or September, it’s possible we could vaccinate the population by the end of September.”
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He continued: “I think there’s an interesting question about whether you vaccinate all 60 million people in the UK.
“But you certainly vaccinate all the vulnerable populations, which will be in the tens of millions.
“That is possible, but I should just caveat that by saying this is not a vaccine, it’s a vaccine in development.
“It takes on average about eight years to develop a vaccine, and these characters in the university have managed to do it in about 18 weeks. So it is quite astonishing where we are now.”
Although the global search for a vaccine has massively ramped up, many do not believe it will be widely available until 2021.
Testing for a COVID-19 vaccine started last week with both Oxford and Imperial College fast-tracking development.
The University of Oxford’s trial has moved into the analysis stage as they begin testing the blood of volunteers.
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Health Secretary Matt Hancock has pledged millions to the vaccine developments.
At a Government briefing, he said: “First, I’m making £22.5million available to the Imperial project.
“That is to support their phase two clinical trials are going to assess a sample of several thousand and for them to begin the work on subsequently a very large phase three trial.
“Second, I’m making available £20million to the Oxford team to fund their clinical trials.
“The team have accelerated that trials process, working with the regulator, the MHRA, who have been absolutely brilliant.”
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