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UK Drug Firm Vows 'Britain WILL Get a Coronavirus Vaccine by September'

Pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca is working with Oxford University to produce drug

 on 25th May 2020 @ 12.00pm
ceo of astrazeneca pascal soriot says their vaccine will be ready by septmeber © press
CEO of AstraZeneca Pascal Soriot says their vaccine will be ready by Septmeber

The pharmaceutical company working with Oxford University to produce a coronavirus vaccine has promised their drug will be available for use in Britain by September.

Big Pharma firm AstraZeneca's CEO Pascal Soriot vows that British people will have access to their vaccine by September, despite warnings it may not be possible to complete the trials.

Speaking during an appearance on The Andrew Marr Show Sunday, Soriot revealed that UK residents will be the first to get access to the vaccine from autumn.

The pharmaceutical firm had previously said it has secured the first agreements with Oxford University to produce at least 400 million doses of the vaccine.

Despite the positive claims, however, a leading member of the project told The Sunday Telegraph that the clinical trial has only a 50 percent chance of being successfully completed.

Professor Adrian Hill, part of the team studying the vaccine from Oxford, says COVID-19 could "vanish" before researchers are able to complete human trials.

astrazeneca ceo pascal soriot said sunday that british people will be the first to get their vaccine © press
AstraZeneca CEO Pascal Soriot said Sunday that British people will be the first to get their vaccine

Lower transmission of the coronavirus in the community means it will be harder for trial participants to catch the virus, and for scientists to see if the vaccine is protective, according to The Daily Mail.

High hopes have been pinned on the vaccine from Oxford University, which went into clinical trials on April 23.

The jab, previously called ChAdOx1 nCoV-19, has been renamed AZD1222 since a partnership was pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca was secured in order to produce billions of doses. 

AstraZeneca has announced a deal with the US to produce 400million doses of the vaccine - which is still not proven - and 100million for the UK. 

Britain has agreed to pay for up the doses "as early as possible" - with ministers hoping for a third of those to be ready for September if proven effective.   

Asked if people in Britain will be among the first to get the vaccine, Mr. Soriot said: "Yes, we have actually received an order from the British Government to supply 100million doses of vaccine, and those will go to the British people.

"And there's no doubt, starting in September, we will start delivering these doses of vaccine to the British Government for vaccination."

But Mr. Soriot went on to say the possibility of the vaccine being rolled out in September depended on if an Oxford University trial worked before the transmission rate lowers further.

He added: "The vaccine has to work and that's one question, and the other question is, even if it works, we have to be able to demonstrate it.

"We have to run as fast as possible before the disease disappears so we can demonstrate that the vaccine is effective."

It comes one of the leading scientists involved with the trial admitted there is a 50/50 chance it will produce "no result."

Oxford University's Jenner Institute and the Oxford Vaccine Group began development on a vaccine in January, using a virus taken from chimpanzees. 

professor adrian hill says covid 19 could vanish before they are able to complete human trials © press
Professor Adrian Hill says COVID-19 could vanish before they are able to complete human trials

Following an initial phase of testing on 160 healthy volunteers between 18 and 55, the study is now set to progress to phases two and three.

It will involve increasing the testing to up to 10,260 people and expanding the age range of volunteers to include children and the elderly.    

Professor Adrian Hill, director of Oxford University's Jenner Institute, said he expected fewer than 50 of those to catch the virus.

The results could be deemed useless if fewer than 20 test positive. 

"We said earlier in the year that there was an 80 percent chance of developing an effective vaccine by September," he told The Sunday Telegraph.

"But at the moment, there's a 50 percent chance that we get no result at all.

"We're in the bizarre position of wanting COVID to stay, at least for a little while, but cases are declining."

If SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes the disease COVID-19, is not spreading in the community, volunteers will find it difficult to catch, meaning scientists can't prove whether the vaccine actually makes any difference.

[RELATED] Bill Gates is Spending Billions Building Factories to Produce COVID-19 Vaccine

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