'Vaccine could be ready by Autumn,' claims top scientist

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A coronavirus vaccine could be available for the general public by September, an Oxford professor has claimed.

Sarah Gilbert, a professor of vaccinology at Oxford University, is leading a team of researchers in the development of a vaccine that would protect the world against coronavirus.

In an interview with The Times, the professor said that she and her team have already created a potential vaccine that is due to begin human trials within two weeks.

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She told the paper she is "80%" confident of its success, "based on other things that we have done with this type of vaccine".

Stock photo. A coronavirus vaccine could be available for the general public by September, an Oxford professor has claimed.Stock photo. A coronavirus vaccine could be available for the general public by September, an Oxford professor has claimed.
Stock photo. A coronavirus vaccine could be available for the general public by September, an Oxford professor has claimed. | Getty Images

Most industry experts say that a vaccine could take as long as 18 months to be developed and distributed globally.

However, Professor Gilbert believes that by letting volunteers from places that have not imposed lockdown measures become infected naturally as soon as possible, will accelerate the clinical trial process.

"If one of those (places) turns out to have a high rate of virus transmission then we will get our efficacy results very quickly, so that is one strategy for reducing the time," she said.

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"Total lockdowns do make it harder. But we don't want the herd immunity either. We want them to be susceptible and exposed for the trials purely to test the efficacy."

In order for the vaccine to be distributed in the autumn, Professor Gilbert says the Government will need to start production before it is proven to work.

She told the paper: "We don't want to get to later this year and discover we have a highly effective vaccine and we haven't got any vaccine to use."

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