London (Brussels Morning) Hopes of a successful vaccine to help combat the coronavirus have been raised as the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca are preparing to present their late-stage trial results before the year is out.
The coronavirus pandemic has led to 1.2 million deaths and a global recession. In the UK, more than one million cases of the virus have been confirmed as the country enters its second national lockdown while piling pressure on the national health services.
Numerous vaccines are being developed worldwide, while the Oxford developed inoculation is thought to be one of the most advanced.
“I’m optimistic that we could reach that point before the end of this year”, said Andrew Pollard, the chief investigator for the Oxford vaccine trial.
Pollard said they would be able to establish if the vaccine worked this year.
However, rollout of the drug would likely occur next year, in the Spring, as indicated by UK prime minister Johnson and his scientific team.
The vaccine is being licensed to AstraZeneca, a multinational and British-Swedish owned pharmaceutical company.
Pfizer is also co-developing a candidate with BioNTech, a German biotechnology firm.
“If I put on my rose-tinted specs, I would hope that we will see positive interim data from both Oxford and from Pfizer/BioNTech in early December and if we get that then I think we have got the possibility of deploying by the year end”, said Kate Bingham, the UK Vaccine Taskforce’s chair.
The Oxford vaccine is derived from a common cold virus that affects chimpanzees, genetically modified to mimic the protein used to penetrate human cells.
While scientists don’t think it is likely for the vaccine to wipe out COVID-19 in 2021, there is hope it will allow some return to normality.
Pollard called it a “game changer” and said it would relieve some pressure on health services.