Vaccine professor warns Covid jab won't be available until next year

Tuesday, 19 May, 2020

Under the agreement, London pledged 65.5 million pounds in funding for the vaccine being developed at the University of Oxford and 18.5 million pounds for related work at Imperial College London.

Business Secretary Mr Sharma said: "Our scientists are at the forefront of vaccine development".

The pharmaceutical industry and health officials around the world are racing to find a vaccine for the novel coronavirus.

Moderna's announcement came just days after one of its directors, Moncef Slaoui, announced he was leaving the company to become chief scientist for Operation Warp Speed, a Trump effort to speed up vaccine development.

He said: "In order to definitively conquer this disease we need to find a safe, workable vaccine".

"The UK will be first to get access", he added, noting it would also work to ensure the vaccine could be made available "to developing countries at the lowest possible cost".

"The first clinical trial of the Oxford vaccine is progressing well with all phase one participants having received their vaccine dose on schedule earlier this week", he said.

The vaccine is being developed along with the National Institutes of Health with the U.S. government having invested half a billion into the research.

At the same time, AstraZeneca has said it will be able to make up to 30 million doses of coronavirus vaccine by September, and 100 million by the end of the year, after signing a deal with the Oxford University coronavirus vaccine team to make their ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 candidate.

The centre will churn out doses of vaccine before a larger facility, called the Vaccines Manufacturing and Innovation Centre (VMIC), opens next summer at the Harwell science and innovation campus in Oxford.

In a further announcement, Sharma said a global licensing agreement had been finalised between Oxford University and AstraZeneca. The favorable results do not prove the vaccine works but suggest that it would give patients a degree of immunity.

This is part of the United Kingdom committing £388 million to the global drive to develop vaccines, tests and treatments.

The results reported Monday come from an initial analysis of a Phase I study primarily created to see if the vaccine is safe.

An analysis of the response in the eight individuals showed that those who received a 100 microgram dose and a 25 microgram dose had levels of protective antibodies to fend of the virus that exceeded those found in the blood of people who recovered from COVID-19, the illness caused by the coronavirus.

After the interview was made public, France's prime minister, Édouard Philippe, issued a comment via Twitter that equal access to a potential vaccine was "not negotiable". It will have the capacity to produce enough vaccine doses to serve the British population within six months, the government said.