The COVID-19 Vaccine being currently developed by Oxford University and AstraZeneca could still be ready by the end of this year, or early next year. This was claimed by AstraZeneca, even though trials were paused this week.
CEO Pascal Soriot said that vaccine development is still on track, but they need to wait for permission from an independent safety panel before the human trials can continue.
This comes after trials were put on hold yesterday, when a British woman, who received the vaccine as part of the trial, developed a swelling of the spinal cord – a claim which was denied by the company, which said that more tests are needed before a final diagnosis can be made.
The vaccine, which has been earmarked as the most promising, by the World Health Organisation is also the vaccine to which Dr Chris Barbara was referring to in comments to the media earlier this week. In fact, millions of doses have been ordered by nations all over the world, even by Malta through the European Commission, should the vaccine prove to be effective and safe.
AstraZeneca CEO said that is was very common for research on new vaccines to be stopped at this stage, adding that the difference between this vaccine and others, is that the whole world is not watching them.
Meanwhile, an AstraZeneca spokesman yesterday said that another brief pause in the trial happened in July, “after one volunteer was confirmed to have an undiagnosed case of multiple sclerosis, which the independent panel concluded was unrelated to the vaccine.”
The vaccine is being trialled in up to 60,000 patients which AstraZeneca CEO said, was typical for trials, and also quite large to spot side effects. Volunteers have been recruited in the UK, Brazil, US and other countries in South America.
AstraZeneca has the capacity to produce close to three billion doses of the vaccine should this be required. Production has already begun, in anticipation of it receiving the go-ahead for use.