Covid-19 vaccine ‘won’t be ready for second wave’ says Oxford professor

A coronavirus vaccine is not going to be ready to beat a second wave of covid-19, a leading Oxford University professor has insisted, as the education institution restarts its key clinical trial to create one.

Sir John Bell, 68, who is a member of the UK’s vaccine taskforce, warned the majority of vaccines take around eight years to develop and boffins have only been working on one to beat Covid-19 for “just eight months”.

The  university's AstraZeneca vaccine is one of several being developed across the world and has so far been trialled on around 30,000 people in the UK, the US, Brazil and South Africa.

It was reinstated yesterday after being temporarily halted when a volunteer suffered a suspected serious adverse reaction.

Some believe a vaccine could possibly be ready by the end of the year but Sir John insists that isn't going to be the case.

Sir John, who is also the regius professor of medicine at the university, told The Daily Telegraph: “We’re not going to beat the second wave now.”

AstraZeneca had already started to produce doses of the vaccine and the UK Government has agreed to buy 30 million doses if it can be proven that it works.

Sir John said: “We’re probably right at the front end of the second wave now, but a vaccine might arrive towards the end of the second wave.

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"We’re probably about three to four months ahead of anybody else with a practical vaccine."

A British woman taking part in trials of a potential  Covid-19  vaccine at Oxford University started suffering from a neurological disease that prompted developers AstraZeneca to order a “global shutdown” of all tests.

The company’s chief executive, Pascal Soriot, reportedly told investors that the woman who had volunteered to take part in the trials was showing signs of an as yet undiagnosed neurological problem.

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In the same call, reports medical news site Statnews, Soriot revealed that the trial also had to be suspended July after one test subject started experiencing neurological problems. In that case it was eventually diagnosed as Multiple Sclerosis which was determined not to be related to the vaccine.

Soriot said that more work was needed before AstraZeneca’s vaccine would be ready for use, saying “a vaccine that nobody wants to take is not very useful.”

The company has issued a statement from Soriot assuring the public that independent experts would be consulted before restarting the development of the vaccine “so that we can continue our work at the earliest opportunity to provide this vaccine broadly, equitably and at no profit during this pandemic.”

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