Late-stage trial results of a potential COVID-19 vaccine being developed by the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca could be presented this year as the British government prepares for a possible vaccination rollout in late December or early 2021.
A vaccine is seen as a game-changer in the battle against the coronavirus, which has killed more than 1.2 million people worldwide, shuttered swathes of the global economy and turned normal life upside down for billions of people.
There are more than 200 candidates under development and the vaccine being developed by Oxford and licensed to British drugmaker AstraZeneca is seen as a front-runner.
“I’m optimistic that we could reach that point before the end of this year,” Oxford Vaccine Trial Chief Investigator Andrew Pollard said of the chances of presenting trial results.
Pollard told British lawmakers that establishing whether or not the vaccine worked would likely come this year, after which the data would have to be carefully reviewed by regulators and then a political decision made on who should receive it.
“Our bit – we are getting closer to but we are not there yet,” Pollard, director of the Oxford Vaccine Group, said.
Asked if he expected the vaccine would start to be deployed before Christmas, he said: “There is a small chance of that being possible but I just don’t know.”
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