A top immunologist has said he hopes some results of a human trial of a coronavirus vaccine will be available by mid-June.
Sir John Bell, Regius professor of medicine at Oxford University, revealed “several hundred” people have been vaccinated and added the challenge is to be able to manufacture at scale once it is approved by the regulators.
He explained: “We also want to make sure that the rest of the world will be ready to make this vaccine at scale so that it gets to populations in developing countries, for example, where the need is very great.”
If the vaccine candidate is successful pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca will work with global partners on its international distribution, particularly working to make it available and accessible for low and medium income countries.
Professor Bell added: “We really need a partner to do that and that partner has a big job in the UK because our manufacturing capacity in the UK for vaccines isn’t where it needs to be, and so we are going to work together with AstraZeneca to improve that considerably.”
Last week, a lead scientist warned a mass vaccination programme is still many months away.
Professor Andrew Pollard, director of the Oxford Vaccine Group, said the plan was to move on to “larger groups of individuals over the next few weeks.”
The trial on people at Oxford University started last Thursday.