The vaccine against the coronavirus could be ready by September, according to a scientist leading one of Britain’s most advanced teams.
Sarah Gilbert, Professor of Vaccinology at Oxford University, told The Times on Saturday, April 11, that she is ‘80% confident’ the vaccine would work, and could be ready by September. According to experts, vaccines typically take years to be developed, and one for the coronavirus could take between 12 to 18 months at best.
“I think there’s a high chance that it will work, based on other things that we have done with this type of vaccine,” Gilbert told the Times. “It’s not just a hunch, and as every week goes by, we have more data to look at.”
Gilbert’s team is one of the dozens worldwide working on a vaccine and is the most advanced in Britain. As the country looks set to begin its fourth week under lockdown, a vaccine could be fundamental in easing the measures and returning to normal life.
UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock told Sky News that the government is already preparing for a situation where a vaccine is ready for distribution. He noted that he is familiar with the project and said that “it is really great to see some hop, especially on the front page of the newspapers.”
“But the way I think about it is as follows, we will put all the resources into getting a vaccine because of the massive benefits we’d have if we had a vaccine,” Hancock told Sky News. “We’re also putting enormous resources into when a vaccine comes about, if and when, then we can manufacture enough here to be able to get it to everybody as quickly as possible.”
Manufacturing the millions of vaccines necessary could take months. Gilbert said she’s in discussion with the British government about funding, and starting production before the final results are in, allowing the public to access the vaccine immediately if it proves to work. She said success by the autumn was “just about possible if everything goes perfectly.”