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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.

SPRING VALLEY, NY - APRIL 24: A phlebotomist shows to the camera specimens of people getting tested for coronavirus antibodies at the Refuah Health Center on April 24, 2020 in Spring Valley, New York. One possible option in treating COVID-19 is giving pat
Yana PaskovaAFP

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.

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Coronavirus vaccine: 70 currently in development

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