What could turn out to be a very big development is reported on the front page of the Times on the progress that is being made towards developing a vaccine. The prediction on the timings comes from Oxford University’s Professor Sarah Gilbert, who told the paper that she was “80 per cent confident” this could be achieved. The Times report goes on:
“The government signalled that it would be willing to fund the manufacture of millions of doses in advance if results looked promising. This would allow it to be available immediately to the public if it were proven to work. With ministers struggling to find a strategy to exit the lockdown, long-term hopes of a return to normality rely on a vaccine. Even if measures to stop the spread of coronavirus are eased in the coming weeks, officials are expecting that without a vaccine some element of social distancing, such as shielding of the vulnerable or working from home, would remain in place for a long time.“
This is one of several coronavirus vaccines that are being worked on because this a global crisis not just one for the UK and there are several research teams working hard around the world.
A financial commitment from the UK government at this stage would be a huge gamble but one you could see being made if the early results look positive. Clearly something that gets vulnerable groups vaccinated within a few months must be a tempting proposition.
I have to say that I am still bit sceptical. The notion that this could be available by September flies in the face of what we have been told so far but the stakes are very high.
- It was at Oxford University during the early part of WW2 that penicillin was developed into a medication that was to save hundreds of thousands of lives.