The director of the group developing a COVID-19 vaccine candidate at Oxford University says it’s possible that the vaccine could be ready by Christmas.
According to a Reuters report, Oxford vaccine trial chief investigator Andrew Pollard said he’s optimistic that the university, which is collaborating with AstraZeneca on the vaccine, will present trial results by the end of 2020.
The trial hit a slight snag in September when AstraZeneca voluntarily paused the U.S. trial after a standard review process was triggered so an independent committee could review safety data surrounding an unexplained illness that occurred in the UK Phase III trial for the AZD1222 vaccine candidate. Last month, the FDA expanded its probe into the British drugmaker.
Speaking to British lawmakers, Pollard said the vaccine is “getting closer” to the point at which it can be reviewed by regulators. He was then asked if he expected that the vaccine could begin to be deployed before Christmas, which is something the British National Health Service (NHS) is preparing for, according to the report.
“There is a small chance of that being possible but I just don’t know,” Pollard said.
The Oxford and AstraZeneca vaccine candidate is considered a frontrunner among the several candidates out there, including Pfizer and BioNTech’s candidate, which could be submitted for FDA emergency use authorization (EUA) at the end of this month.