Scientists with Oxford University say a CCP virus vaccine candidate they’re developing could be available by the fall of 2020.
Most groups working on vaccines have pinpointed early 2021 as the earliest they’ll be available for distribution.
Oxford University’s Jenner Institute is testing the vaccine in phase one human trials after it reportedly showed effectiveness in monkeys against the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, a novel coronavirus that emerged from mainland China last year that causes the disease COVID-19.
After phase one, which involves injecting 510 volunteers with the vaccine and 510 others with a control vaccine, researchers plan on extending the trial to older groups of people before launching phase three with 5,000 volunteers aged 19 and older.
“The best-case scenario is that by the autumn of 2020 we could have an efficacy result from the phase three trial to show that the vaccine protects against the virus, alongside the ability to manufacture large amounts of the vaccine,” the group stated in a blog post.
They added: “These best-case timeframes are highly ambitious and subject to change.”
Scientists from the group told multiple media outlets they foresee the vaccine being available as early as September.
“I have a high degree of confidence about this vaccine, because it’s technology that I’ve used before,” Sarah Gilbert, a professor of vaccinology at Oxford University, told CBS.
One reason for the quicker timeline: manufacturing facilities are planning to start producing the vaccine even as it’s still being tested.
Massachusetts-based MilliporeSigma said earlier this month that it laid a foundation with the Jenner Institute for large-scale production of the vaccine candidate, a process that typically takes six months to a year. HALIX B.V. in the Netherlands is also scaling up manufacturing that will take place alongside early trials. And the Serum Institute of India plans to produce 4 to 5 million doses per month even before the trials are fully complete.
“We are not waiting for the trials to get over in September in the UK, and then start production here. The decision—at our own risk and cost—has been solely taken to get a jump-start on manufacturing, to have enough doses available, if clinical trials prove successful,” Serum Institute CEO Adar Poonawalla told The Times of India.
Up to 60 million doses could be produced this year, Poonawalla said.
Human trials of the candidate in India are planned to start in May.