A coronavirus vaccine could possibly be available by Autumn, according to Oxford University trial leader, Sir John Bell. When asked by what time he thought the entire British population would be vaccinated, Sir John said Christmas. LBC host Matt Frei was stunned and reminded the professor that many experts originally predicted the process of starting vaccinations wouldn’t begin until spring 2021.
The professor said: “There are a lot of wise people in the vaccine business who turned the problem across to the standard development programme for vaccines, which gave them a read-out in mid-2021.
“What I don’t think they acknowledged is that you can speed lots of the bits of the process up.
“You could manufacture in anticipation of regulatory result. That saves you three months at least, and maybe more.
“You can do your clinical trials in the way that the Jenner Institute scientists have done, which are much faster and much more efficient than the usual approaches to vaccine development.”
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Sir John continued: “So there are lots of ways you can speed the process up and I think even if the Oxford vaccine fails, we’ll have changed the approach to development vaccines forever.
“All the other vaccine manufacturers are now following exactly the plant that we put into place back in January.”
The Oxford professor anticipates that, if everything goes according to plan, vaccinations can begin by late September.
He added that there’s likely to be a similar programme globally.
He added: “If you look at the opportunity cost of not having the vaccine simply because you didn’t manufacture it, that will be a massive opportunity cost that we would have missed.
“I think there’s quite a lot of momentum to get this stuff made in anticipation of a positive result.”
Oxford University has finalised a global licensing agreement with pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca.
This is for the commercialisation and manufacturing of the coronavirus vaccine currently being trialled at the university.
Business Secretary Alok Sharma revealed that the UK will be the first to gain access.