John Bell, a senior member of UK government’s coronavirus vaccine taskforce, said on Saturday (April 18) that trials for a coronavirus COVID-19 vaccine could be completed by mid-August.
Talking to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme. Bell said that human test trials for coronavirus vaccine had begun at Oxford University this week. He, however, asserted that
that “the real question” was not over the availablity of the vaccine but the concern is over its effectiveness against the deadly virus.
“[The question is] will it protect people, and that has not been tested and it will only be tested once you have vaccinated a significant number of people and exposed them to the virus and counted how many people have got the virus in that population. But if things go on course and it does have efficacy, then I think it is reasonable to think that they would be able to complete their trial by mid-August," he said.
Bell said a candidate vaccine had gone “into man” for the first time on Thursday (April 16), Guardian reported. According to Bell, the candidate vaccine was inserted inside the 'man' after a wide range of safety studies.
“If we can see evidence of a strong immune response by the middle or the end of May, then I think the game is on,” he said, adding that the next step would then be “the massive issue of how you manufacture at scale many billions of doses”.
In a related development, the chief of Epidemiology and Communicable diseases at the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), Dr Raman R Gangakhedkar, had said on friday that whatever vaccine for the COVID-19 comes out now, it will work in the future as well even if the virus mutates.
"This virus has been in India for 3 months, the mutation doesn’t happen too quickly. Whatever vaccine comes out now, it will work in the future as well (if the virus mutates)," said Dr Gangakhedkar.