How Soon Will We Get a Covid-19 Vaccine? As Early as September, Say Oxford Scientists


How Soon Will We Get a Covid-19 Vaccine? As Early as September, Say Oxford Scientists

Illustration: Mitesh Parmar

It’s been three months since the Covid-19 pandemic broke out, putting almost every country in the world under various stages of lockdown. Leading scientists and medical practitioners have since been using their time to focus on developing a much-needed vaccine and cure for the latest strain of coronavirus.

While doctors in a number of countries have shown some success in treating patients, a laboratory in Oxford University is fast emerging as the most likely source of a cure, according to recent reports.

Days after successfully carrying out human trials on two people, the Jenner Institute has indicated they could be testing the vaccine on more than 6,000 patients by the end of the month. The vaccine has already shown promising results in rhesus monkeys (the closest thing scientists have to humans).

According to The New York Times, the Oxford scientists now say that the first few million doses of their vaccine could be available by September — at least several months ahead of any of the other announced efforts.

The Oxford vaccine, according to the report, was administered to six test monkeys in Montana, USA, a month ago. All six recovered in the following 28 days, giving virologists a glimmer of hope that the vaccine would have the same effect on humans.

Earlier, the UK government had said that trials of this sort would “generally take years”, before investing 20 million pounds in the project.

The Oxford Group that’s working hard to develop the vaccine also has a well-known Indian face backing it — Adar Poonawalla, the CEO of Serum Institute.

The institute announced on Tuesday that it had plans to start production of the Oxford University vaccine in the next few weeks. Poonawalla indicated that they hoped to bring the vaccine to market by October, if the human clinical trials were proven successful.

“We expect to produce 5 million doses per month for the first six months, following which, we hope to scale up production to 10 million doses per month,” the institute’s CEO said.

Poonawalla made headlines, and warmed hearts, last week when he announced that the institute wouldn’t patent the vaccine, and instead make it available for all to produce and sell in India and across the world. As confirmed coronavirus cases continue to rise, and we enter the last week of the current nationwide lockdown, it’s headlines like this that have been keeping hopes up. If everything goes according to plan, we’ll soon be rid of the virus soon.