While all the countries around the world, especially the leaders of the nations are eagerly waiting for the US election result that would impact the diplomatic ties, the Coronavirus pandemic continues to take lives. Meanwhile, scientists from all around the world are trying to develop a vaccine, and it looks like Oxford University could give good news soon.
The chief investigator of Oxford- AstraZeneca vaccine trial, Professor Andrew Pollard has given a hint at when it could be rolled out in the UK. He said he is optimistic that the data on efficacy and safety of their vaccine will be available by the end of 2020 and there is a small chance that the vaccine shot could be ready by Christmas.
According to him the trial data needs to be put together and presented to the regulators in the UK, as well as in other countries around the world. Prof Pollard also explained that the regulators have to review all those data, and "we absolutely need that to happen so there is very careful scrutiny of everything that has been done in the clinical trials to look at their integrity and the quality of the data, and to verify that the results are correct."
After that, the policy decision about who should get the Oxford vaccine and the provision and deployment would happen. "So I think the answer is that, albeit we are getting closer to [deployment], but we are not there yet and there is a "small chance" that the vaccine would be ready by Christmas.
Why UK Doctors Are on Alert?
The chief executive of the National Health Service in England, Simon Stevens said on Wednesday that with over 200 Coronavirus vaccines in development, one will "hopefully" be available in the first part of 2021. But according to him, doctors will be gearing up in case a vaccine is ready before the predicted time.
The UK drug regulator has already started accelerating the review process of the vaccines which are currently under development—AstraZeneca and Pfizer—while the country gets ready to approve the first successful Coronavirus vaccine as quickly as possible.
The latest comments came at a time when the UK is preparing for a second national lockdown from Thursday, November 5 as an effort to contain the new wave of Coronavirus infected that threatened to overwhelm the hospitals in the country. However, the Boris Johnson government believes that the emergence of an effective and safe vaccine as well as the development of COVID-19 treatments will be the best hope to avoid future lockdowns and ease social-distancing measures that are devastating for the economy.
However, UK Ministers have said that care home residents, who are an extremely vulnerable group, and the workers will be the first to get the shot of a vaccine when it is ready. Later the jab will be given to the people aged 80 and above, followed by the healthcare workers and later other people.
But will an early vaccine help people? As per the chairwoman of the UK Vaccine Taskforce, Kate Bingham, it may not bring an end to the pandemic. In The Lancet medical journal, she wrote that it is very important to guard against complacency and over-optimism. "The first generation of vaccines is likely to be imperfect, and we should be prepared that they might not prevent infection but rather reduce symptoms, and, even then, might not work for everyone or for long," she added.