Suddenly there’s the prospect of a vaccine, perhaps even by the end of the year

Suddenly there’s the prospect of a vaccine, perhaps even by the end of the year

It has repeatedly been said over the last five months that the only way that life can really return back to normal will be if an effective vaccine becomes available. There have been reports that more than 100 research teams around the world are working hard on the challenge and now we’ve got news about two of them.

Firstly there is the Oxford vaccine which has attracted a lot of interest over the months because it was initially developed to deal with a similar virus to Covid 19 and the hope was that is could be adapted.

According to the Times this morning:

In a phase-one trial involving about 1,000 British volunteers, a University of Oxford vaccine appears to have stimulated the desired response from the immune system, The Times understands. The subjects are understood to have shown encouraging levels of neutralising antibodies, thought to be important in protecting against viral infection, and there were no serious side-effects. The results also indicated that another aspect of the immune system, known as T-cells, was mobilised. The researchers have yet to prove that this combined immune response is enough to protect against infection but if it had not been found it would have been a setback. “The Oxford team are very much still in the fight,” a source said.

At an early stage in the pandemic the UK government took a gamble on this succeeding with the intention of helping to get it out there as soon as it becomes possible to use.

If this is the case and it does work it will be a huge feather in the cap for PM Johnson and his team.

Meanwhile another vaccine developed by US biotech firm Moderna has shown promising results and an efficacy trial involving 30k people is set to begin by the end of the month.

Let us hope that this is not wishful thinking.

Mike Smithson

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