ALL Brits could get access to a coronavirus vaccine at the start of next year, an Imperial Professor revealed today.
Lab chief Professor Robin Shattock said the vaccine could be rolled out early next year, and they would have enough to vaccinate the whole of the population.
At the moment just 15 volunteers have been trialing the wonder drug, but it will ramp up to 200 in the coming weeks.
Speaking to Sky’s Sophy Ridge today, he said it was “difficult to predict” whether it would definitely work as it’s impossible at the moment to know what level of immunity is required.
He said this morning: “It is still not a certainty that it will work.
“If everything goes really well we will get an answer by early next year.
“We have enough to make it for the whole of the UK.
“It will be rolled out in the first half of next year.
“The UK is looking at doing advanced purchase of the vaccine so its ready to go.”
He declared: “We are lucky in the UK –we have two very strong vaccine candidates” and the chances of never finding one was “very low”.
And he said it “didn’t matter” that the UK would not be a part of the EU’s vaccine programme, as announced on Friday.
He said: “I don’t think it matters at this stage. Success will come form many different avenues.
“We just need to keep our feet to the grindstone and do it as fast as we can.”
The Oxford vaccine is currently the furthest along in human trials of all the vaccines in development.
But that won’t be ready until October at the very earliest.
Hope still hangs on the current human coronavirus vaccine trials continuing to be successful and drugs company AstraZeneca being able to produce 30 million units fast enough.
But that would only be enough for half of the population, and there’s no date of when it could be rolled out to the public.
They aim to be able to give vaccines to the other half within six months.
Those over the age of 50 and people with underlying medical conditions will likely be the first to get any vaccine which is ready.
Oxford chiefs are confident it will give immunity for several years – but they are still testing out their drugs.
Professor Sarah Gilbert said a vaccine would only be likely to “take the edge off” symptoms, rather than giving complete protection.
The Government has promised to pay to make sure that there’s enough capacity to ramp it up for as many people as possible.
But there is a rush to see if they can get one finished and out to people who need it before the winter – where the increased risk of flu is likely to see coronavirus return with the vengence.