A vaccine that protects against the novel coronavirus could be ready by September this year, claims an Oxford University scientist leading one of Britain’s most advanced teams on vaccines.
The scientist and Professor of Vaccinology Sarah Gilbert told British paper The Times on Saturday that she is “80% confident” the vaccine would work. “It’s not just a hunch, and as every week goes by we have more data to look at,” Gilbert said.
She said human trials of the vaccine could begin as early as in two weeks. The issue they could face was manufacturing the millions of vaccine doses necessary which could take months.
The British government said it would be willing to fund manufacturing in advance if the results looked promising, the Times reported. Success by the autumn was “just about possible if everything goes perfectly,” Gilbert said.
However, experts have warned the public that vaccines usually take years to develop, and one for the coronavirus could take between 12 to 18 months.
There are 70 coronavirus vaccines in development the world over, with three candidates being tested in human trials, according to the World Health Organisation.
There were no vaccines to protect against outbreaks caused by the SARS and MERS viruses.
So far, over 1.8 million COVID-19 cases have been reported globally with more than 100,000 deaths.