Covid-19: Could a vaccine be available by September?

covid-19 vaccine
©Luboslav Ivanko

Scientists from the University of Oxford, joint with AstraZeneca, are hopeful that their vaccine, to protect against Covid-19, could be available as early as September

The race for a successful vaccine to protect against Covid-19 could soon have a winner with a number of companies and countries announcing that they either have one ready or are on the brink of finding one.

Those from the joint Oxford University-AstraZeneca are hopeful that their potential vaccine, known as AZD1222, will produce both an antibody and T-cell response.

Scientists working on the project told the Daily Telegraph that their vaccine had provoked both antibody and T-cell responses to the coronavirus in human test subjects. Both are crucial to achieving immunity to disease.

Sources told the outlet that a tentative date for mass roll-out of the vaccine was possible as early as September. It is believed that the vaccine will be 80% effective at preventing severe illness developing among those infected.

There is a three-stage testing process that the vaccines must go through before they are approved for use. The Oxford project is currently drawing its Phase I stage to a close, and is well into its Phase III process. Data on the Phase I stage will be made available on 20 July for study by other researchers.

The partnership between the University of Oxford and pharmaceutical firm, AstraZeneca, aims to roll out billions of doses on a not-for-profit basis. It is likely that those who will receive the vaccines first will be at risk groups, such as the elderly, those suffering from chronic diseases, and frontline health workers.

Rival developments

There are more than 100 vaccine projects ongoing globally, but the Oxford project seems to be one of the frontrunners.

Moderna, the US pharmaceutical, has reported preliminary positive results for its vaccine, and hopes by the end of the year, it will have approval for roll. Both Moderna and the Oxford project have received financial support from their respective governments.

Countries, such as Russia and China, have also reported positive results from their vaccine development programmes but data has not been made public.

The countries which have been worst hit by the virus include the US, Brazil, and the UK, with breakouts still on the rise in several other states. The number of confirmed coronavirus cases is nearing 14 million globally, with more than 587,000 officially recorded deaths.


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