The director of the Oxford vaccine trial says there is a “small chance” the vaccine will be ready before Christmas.
Andrew Pollard, chief vaccine investigator, told the Science and Technology Committee he was “optimistic” that the Oxford University track could present late-stage results and reveal whether it is working, before the end of the year.
When asked whether the vaccine will be ready by Christmas, he said: “There is a small possibility that this will be possible, but I do not know.”
“Our trials are just one of the many trials going on around the world, and a number of them may be reported before the end
However, he said the schedule for deploying vaccines remains unclear.
a Corona Virus The vaccine has not yet been approved and will need to go through the regulators to ensure it is safe and effective before it is offered to the public.
There are two early candidates who are currently in the final stage of clinical trials and could send clinical data to the organizers within weeks.
These are potential vaccines from German company BioNtech, US pharmaceutical company Pfizer, University of Oxford and AstraZeneca.
UK Vaccine Task Force Leader Kate Bingham told the committee that she is “more than 50% confident” in developing a vaccine by next summer. She said that the data appears positive, we will see a vaccine that “works somewhat” and that we are “very likely” to see a vaccine that reduces disease and death.
Earlier, the chief executive of NHS England said the Health Service was preparing to administer the COVID-19 vaccine before Christmas if the vaccine was ready.
Sir Simon Stevens told BBC Radio 4’s Today program: “There are more than 200 vaccines in development and we believe we should have one or more of those vaccines available in the first part of next year.”
In anticipation, we are also preparing the NHS to prepare for the start of management Covid-19 Vaccines before Christmas, if available. “
He said that an “agreement” had been reached with general practitioners to ensure this happened, adding: “We will be writing to GP clinics this week to prepare them to start by Christmas if the vaccine becomes available.”
On Tuesday, Pulse Magazine reported that General practitioners are put on standby To start vaccinating over 85-year-olds and frontline health workers from early next month.
Although Ms Bingham previously warned that the first generation of COVID-19 vaccines “is likely to be incomplete” and “It may not work for everyone.”.
Last week, I wrote in the Lancet medical journal: “We must be prepared because they may not prevent infection but rather reduce symptoms, and even then, they may not work for everyone or for a long time.”
This came after warnings from government scientists that the NHS would be plagued by thousands of deaths unless action was taken.
Sir Simon said: “In many parts of the country, we are now seeing more coronavirus patients in hospitals and intensive care than we saw in the first peak in April.”
He added that the health service “is adding as much capacity as possible” in anticipation of the usual winter pressures and Covid patients.
But he said people need to do everything they can to keep infection rates low to ensure that other services – routine operations and cancer care – are maintained.
He said, “It is clear that we are adding as much capacity as possible in anticipation of not only the Corona virus, but the additional winter pressure that always comes with this time of the year.”
“ The reason why we want to try to reduce the number of coronavirus infections and patients to a minimum is not only because of the excess death rate that this means, but because of the indirect consequences that other services may have – routine operations, cancer care.
“And so if we want to maintain those other services so that the health service can continue to help a whole group of patients, we need to do everything we can, together, to keep the coronavirus infection rate low.”
A committee advising the government on vaccines has already identified which groups should be the priority to receive the COVID-19 injection.
The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunization said that residents and workers in care homes should be the first to receive any approved vaccine.
After that, everyone aged 80 years or over and health and social care personnel should be next vaccinated.
Overall, there are more than 200 candidate vaccines in development worldwide, with 44 in clinical trials.
Of the 44, nine are in phase III clinical evaluation and are being submitted to thousands of people to confirm safety and efficacy.
A spokesperson for the Department of Health and Welfare said on Tuesday: “Although there is no certainty in the development, production and timing of new vaccines, there is a possibility that the Covid-19 vaccine will be available in the UK in the first part of 2021.
“It will only be introduced after its safety and efficacy has been demonstrated through robust clinical trials and approved by the MHRA (Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency).
“Once approved, the NHS is ready to start a vaccination program for those most at risk, before rolling it out on a larger scale.”
A spokesperson for the NHS added: “The NHS has well-established plans to deliver vaccinations across the country, including the annual flu vaccination and childhood immunization, and work is underway to build on these tried and tested methods so that the vaccine is ready, and staff can safely deliver it.”