Coronavirus vaccine could be ready before Christmas, Oxford trial boss says
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Coronavirus vaccine could be ready before Christmas, Oxford trial boss says

Credit: Belga

There is “a small chance” that the coronavirus vaccine developed by researchers at the University of Oxford will be ready for use before Christmas, according to the head of the vaccine trials, Andrew Pollard.

During the Science and Technology Committee on Wednesday, Pollard told British lawmakers that he is optimistic that the data on safety and efficacy of their vaccine will be available by December.

When Pollard was asked if he expected the vaccine to be deployed before Christmas, he said that there is “a small chance of that being possible,” according to The Telegraph.

The timeline for the deployment of vaccines still remains unclear, however, as the data would need to go through the regulatory processes.

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“The regulators then have to review all of that, 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,” Pollard said.

The Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine is expected to be one of the first from big pharma to be submitted for regulatory approval, along with Pfizer and BioNTech’s candidate, reports Reuters.

“We hope that the first results of the trials will be announced sometime in November-December,” said virologist and interfederal Covid-19 spokesperson Steven Van Gucht during a press conference on Wednesday morning. He added that Belgium and the European Commission are negotiating to make sure the Belgian market will be supplied with sufficient vaccines.

If everything goes according to plan, Belgium can expect to launch the first major vaccination campaigns “sometime in spring next year,” probably sometime between March and June, according to Van Gucht.

“In the beginning, however, we will not have enough to vaccinate everyone, which is why it is important to set certain priorities,” Van Gucht said, adding that healthcare workers will be among the first groups to be vaccinated, as are people over the age of 65, and people with underlying illnesses.

Maïthé Chini
The Brussels Times