With coronavirus cases around the world now at over 27 million, scientists have been working around the clock to develop a vaccine.
A vaccine developed by researchers from the University of Oxford has been tipped as the front-runner, and is currently undergoing Phase III trials.
While Health Secretary Matt Hancock has suggested that the vaccine won’t be available until ‘early 2021, a senior eurocrat claims that this isn’t the case.
Instead, Sandra Gallina, Deputy Director General of the European Commission, claims that the vaccine could be available as early as November.
Speaking to EU Parliament, Ms Gallina said that ‘vial one’ of the vaccine should be ready ‘by the end of the year.’
She said: “At the beginning the number of doses will be limited by definition.
“You will have a huge amount of doses at a certain point, possibly around April next year.”
However, this timeline could be pushed back, following the news that AstraZeneca has paused the vaccine trial after a UK volunteer suffered a serious adverse reaction.
AstraZeneca Plc – which is working alongside the University of Oxford – has confirmed it had had to pause development of the vaccine “to allow review of safety data”.
The nature of the adverse reaction or when it occurred are not known but the participant is reportedly expected to recover.
An AstraZeneca spokesperson described the pause as a “routine action” which must happen whenever a “potentially unexplained illness” occurs in one of its trials.
They said during the investigation it is crucial it “maintain[s]the integrity of the trials”, adding the company is working to “expedite the review of the single event” in order to “minimise any potential impact” on the trial’s timeline.