Friday, 25 Sep 2020

Coronavirus vaccine: Oxford professor reveals UK could see breakthrough this autumn

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Oxford professor Sir John Bell noted encouraging progress is being made on the coronavirus vaccine developed at the university. While speaking to Jon Snow on Channel 4, professor Bell claimed scientists may have enough data to understand whether the vaccine works by as early as autumn this year. After a successful readout, scientists would be able to quantify how effective the vaccine is and move on to the next stage.

When asked about how quickly members of the public could get the vaccine Professor Bell said: “As you may have spotted there is a wide range of views on this subject.

“I am hopeful we are going to start to get a readout early in the autumn as to whether or not this vaccine works or not.”

Professor Bell then went into greater details of the factors that impact the likelihood of this happening.

He said: “A lot of this depends on the intensity of the infection.

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“In order to get a readout you have to have a certain of incident cases in the control vaccine population.

“That then tells you that you can look at the real vaccinated population and see whether they have been protected.

“I am hoping that this will happen pretty smartly this autumn.”

Despite the progress being made, Professor Bell also highlighted the potential issues of the vaccine.

He said: “Don’t forget these vaccines are unlikely to completely sterilise the population.

“They are very likely to have an effect that works in a percentage.

“Something like 60 or 70 percent and we will have to look quite carefully.

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“The regulators will also have to look quite carefully that the vaccine has done what we need it to do before it gets approved.

“There will be a delay between the outcome of the trial and a decision whether it can be approved as a vaccine.”

The lack of a coronavirus vaccine has forced the Government into making difficult decisions ahead of the winter months, in fear of a potential second wave.

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