The race for a Covid vaccine is reaching its nail-biting conclusion, with the glimmer of a possibility that one of the leading contenders will be approved by Christmas, reports The Guardian.
Within weeks, the first results to show whether one of the vaccines actually works will emerge. With a vaccine hailed as the world’s best hope of halting all this ghastliness, the world is holding its breath.
It could be Oxford University, partnered with drug company AstraZeneca. It could be Moderna in the US, or it may be Pfizer and the German company BioNTech. All three have either recruited the last of the tens of thousands of volunteers they need for the critical final trials or will shortly do so.
And sometime in November or December, their independent monitoring boards will “unblind” their secret data to find out whether fewer people given the experimental vaccines are getting Covid-19. The excitement is palpable.
The UK has bought six of the hundreds of vaccines under development. It has two of the three companies heading down the final furlong: AstraZeneca’s and Pfizer’s. Kate Bingham, who heads the UK’s vaccine taskforce, said the UK was in “a very good place” with a chance of a vaccine before Christmas.
“They have to have enough cases to show vaccine efficacy and the regulator has to approve it. If all of that happens, then it’s possible that we could have a vaccine this side of Christmas,” she said.
To be approved, it needs to be at least 50% effective. And it must be safe. Everybody agrees that cutting corners for speed could lead to disaster.