A vaccine for COVID-19 could be ready as early as September, according to a professor at the University of Oxford.
Sarah Gilbert is a professor of vaccinology and says she is “80% confident” COVID-19 vaccine under development by his team will work.
His team at Oxford is part of a global effort to find a vaccine for coronavirus which has killed more than 100,000 people worldwide, according to Johns Hopkins University.
Professor Gilbert said that human trials are expected to take place within the next two weeks and that she is working seven days a week to get the vaccine through quickly.
She told The Times newspaper, “I think there is a good chance it will work based on other things we have done with this type of vaccine.
“It’s not just a hunch and as each week goes by, we have more data to look at. I would go for 80%, this is my personal opinion. “
She added that having something ready in the fall is “about possible if everything goes perfectly,” but cautioned that “no one can promise it will work.”
Locking in the UK could make testing for the vaccine more difficult, as human contact is low, so researchers will need to conduct trials somewhere with a higher transmission rate, to get a faster result.
Earlier in the week, researchers from the University of Southampton said they discovered that virus has “weak shielding”, which means that a vaccine could be easier to develop.
:: Listen to the Daily podcast on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Spreaker
The UK is at the forefront of vaccine funding and injected £ 210 million into an international fund last month – the largest contribution at the time for a vaccine.
The government also said it would be willing to buy millions of doses if the trials were successful.
However, despite Oxford’s optimism, other vaccine developers have said it could be up to a year before something is ready for distribution.
Ministers forced to explain details of government’s exit strategy from ongoing lock-up, but scientists say it is too early to consider removing general restrictions while the death toll continues to rise.