Coronavirus: Vaccine trial could be done by August, says Oxford professor

Professor Sir John Bell has told BBC Radio 4's Today programme that human trials on a potential coronavirus vaccine could be completed by late summer.

Coronavirus: Vaccine trial could be done by August, says Oxford professor
Yana Paskova AFP

Clinical trials on a coronavirus vaccine which have begun at Oxford University could be finished by August, a chief adviser to the UK government has told the BBC.

Scientists at the university began human trials on Thursday and expect to “get a signal” next month of whether this potential vaccine can have a significant effect on the virus, Sir John Bell, a professor at Oxford, said on Saturday.

"Will it have efficacy? Will it protect people?"

The real question is will it have efficacy? Will it protect people?” Bell, who is a member of the government’s vaccine taskforce, told Radio 4’s Today programme.

That has not been tested and it will only be tested once you have vaccinated a significant number of people and exposed them to the virus and counted how many people have got the virus in that population.

"So, we won’t even get a signal for that until May.

He continued: “But if things go on course and it does have efficacy, then I think it is reasonable to think that they would be able to complete their trial by mid-August.”

More than 150,000 coronavirus deaths

The coronavirus has so far infected 2.2 million people across the world, leading to just over 154,000 deaths.

See also:

Coronavirus vaccine: 70 currently in development

Live coverage of the coronavirus pandemic

You can keep up-to-date with the latest developments in the coronavirus crisis by following our daily live blog. We also have dedicated rolling feeds for Nigeria and the United States.