Oxford University's potential COVID-19 vaccine could be launched by the end of the year, but there is no certainty that this will happen, the main developer of the vaccine said Tuesday.
The experimental vaccine, licensed to AstraZeneca, triggered an immune response in early clinical trials, data on Monday showed, and hoped it could be used by the end of the year.
"The goal of introducing the vaccine by the end of the year is one option, but there is absolutely no certainty about it because three things are required," Sarah Gilbert told BBC Radio.
She said it needed to be shown to work in late-stage studies, to manufacture large quantities, and to quickly agree that regulators should license it for emergencies.
"All three of these things have to happen and come together before we can see a large number of vaccinated people," she said.
The Oxford scientists had examined a million doses of the potential vaccine, which is expected to be produced by September.
Although the contract with AstraZeneca has provided production capacity for this, the lower prevalence of the novel corona virus in the UK has made the process of proving its effectiveness more difficult.
Late-phase trials are ongoing in Brazil and South Africa and are slated to begin in the United States.
"The bottom line is that we get enough people who have been exposed to the virus and who have received the vaccine so that we can actually correctly assess whether it will prevent and remain safe," said John Bell, Regius professor of medicine the university of oxford said bbc radio.
"We are confident, especially given the low incidence rates in the UK, that the people recruited in Brazil and South Africa can ultimately provide us with the data."
There are no approved vaccines for COVID-19, but the World Health Organization has determined that AstraZeneca's shot is one of the leading candidates.
(Reporting by Alistair Smout; editing by Sarah Young and Nick Macfie)
(Except for the headline, this story was not edited by NDTV staff and published from a syndicated feed.)