With coronavirus cases around the world now at over 47 million, scientists have been working around the clock to develop a vaccine.
A vaccine developed by the University of Oxford has been tipped as the front-runner, and now the chief trial investigator has given us a hint at when it could be rolled out across the UK.
Andrew Pollard says that late-stage trial results could be presented by the end of the year, and there’s a ‘small chance’ the jab could be ready by Christmas.
“I’m optimistic that we could reach that point before the end of this year,” Mr Pollard said of presenting trial results this year.
Asked if the vaccine would be ready by Christmas he said: ”There is a small chance.”
Mr Pollard’s comments come shortly after Kate Bingham, the UK Vaccine Taskforce Chief agreed that the Covid-19 vaccine could be ready before Christmas.
Speaking to the BBC, Kate Bingham said: “If the first two vaccines, or either of them, show that they are both safe and effective, I think there is a possibility that vaccine roll out will start this side of Christmas, but otherwise I think it’s more realistic to expect it to be early next year.”
Ms Bingham also published an article in The Lancet, warning that the vaccine is ‘likely to be imperfect.’
Writing in The Lancet, she said: “We do not know that we will ever have a vaccine at all. It is important to guard against complacency and over-optimism.”
“The first generation of vaccines is likely to be imperfect, and we should be prepared that they might not prevent infection but rather reduce symptoms, and, even then, might not work for everyone or for long,” she added.
Ms Bingham wrote that the Vaccine Taskforce recognises that “many, and possibly all, of these vaccines could fail”, adding the focus has been on vaccines that are expected to elicit immune responses in the population older than 65 years.
She said that the global manufacturing capacity for vaccines is vastly inadequate for the billions of doses that are needed and that the United Kingdom’s manufacturing capability to date has been “equally scarce”.