Coronavirus vaccine could be ready in just five months: Oxford scientist
April 11, 2020 05:25 PM
A COVID-19 vaccine could be ready to be used by the general public in the next five months, according to an Oxford professor.
Sarah Gilbert, a professor of vaccinology at Oxford University, is head of a team of researchers who are developing a vaccine that could protect people across the world from coronavirus. In an interview with The Times, the professor said that she and her team have already created a potential vaccine that is due to begin human trials within two weeks.
She told the paper she is “80%” confident of its success, “based on other things that we have done with this type of vaccine”.
Most industry experts say that a vaccine could take as long as 18 months to be developed and distributed globally. However, Professor Gilbert believes that by letting volunteers from places that have not imposed lockdown measures become infected naturally as soon as possible, will accelerate the clinical trial process.
“If one of those (places) turns out to have a high rate of virus transmission then we will get our efficacy results very quickly, so that is one strategy for reducing the time,” she said. “Total lockdowns do make it harder. But we don’t want the herd immunity either. We want them to be susceptible and exposed for the trials purely to test the efficacy.”
In order for the vaccine to be distributed in the autumn, Professor Gilbert says the Government will need to start production before it is proven to work. She told the paper: “We don’t want to get to later this year and discover we have a highly effective vaccine and we haven’t got any vaccine to use.”