Under the best case scenario a vaccine for COVID-19 could be available as early as September, according to Nobel laureate and immunologist Professor Peter Doherty.
Researchers at Oxford University’s Jenner Institute have adapted a vaccine candidate that was used to fight Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, an extremely potent disease that is also part of the coronavirus family.
Researchers began adapting the MERS vaccine to combat SARS-CoV-2, which is the coronavirus responsible for COVID-19.
In just over four months, COVID-19 has killed at least 264,000 people and wreaked havoc on the global economy, with some economists fearing the world is on the precipice of another Great Depression.
The University is planning to test the vaccine in more than 6,000 people by the end of next month.
Professor Doherty told Sky News he is “cautiously optimistic” a vaccine can soon be found for COVID-19.
He said the Oxford trial has promise.
“We are well into what you would call a phase one clinical trial into humans,” he said.
“Now, the only way, once you have put a virus into humans, the only way to really test it is to put it into more and more people so long it seems safe and protecting people, to see if it holds up.
“The British have already organised, I believe, to get 60 million doses of this vaccine made and it could be going into people’s arms as early as September”.
“That all depends on it working and being safe.”