UK government scientists believe a German vaccine in its ‘last mile’ could be ready to distribute by Christmas.
The vaccine, to be produced by the pharmaceutical company Pfizer, will first be rolled out to the elderly and vulnerable.
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Britain has already bought enough doses of the vaccine for 20 million people – with the hope that it will be able to be used immediately.
Albert Bourla, the chief executive of Pfizer, said that the vaccine was in the “last mile,” with results expected within a matter of weeks.
This could be a massive breakthrough for Brits who could face fines for having more than six people around the dinner table on Christmas Day.
Cops have already warned that officers will go into Brits’ homes and break up Christmas family gatherings if they break lockdown rules.
Despite the fact that Oxford’s coronavirus vaccine produces a “strong immune response” in elderly participants – it may not be ready to roll out until the new year.
Data on the safety and immune responses among those taking part in the Oxford phase two vaccine trial has been submitted for peer review in a medical journal this week.
The vaccine is currently in a phase three clinical trial, which means the safety and effectiveness of the vaccine is being tested by thousands of participants across a number of different countries.
But the German scientists backed by Pfizer could bring the hope of a successful vaccine before our British jab is complete.
The Pfizer vaccine is one of six to which Britain has secured early access – with 40 million doses already on order, ready for two per vaccinated person.
NEW HOPE FOR CHRISTMAS
Made in collaboration with the German company Biontech, the vaccine is being tested on 42,000 volunteers in six countries – and the earliest it could be ready is the third week in November.
This is still dependent on whether it passes the final safety trials.
Mr Bourla said: “We have reached the last mile.
“Let’s all have the patience required for something so important for health and the global economy.”
This comes as another 310 Brits lost their lives to coronavirus as deaths double in just a fortnight – while a further 24,701 people tested positive overnight.
Two weeks ago – Wednesday, October 14 – 137 people were recorded to have died, meaning the death rate has more than doubled.
Every London borough has now seen the rate of coronavirus cases spiral above the crucial threshold of 100 new cases a week per 100,000 people.
Official figures show the number of people testing positive in the capital – currently under strict Tier 2 measures – is spiralling.
Meanwhile, up to 10 per cent of England’s population could be tested every week in Boris Johnson’s latest mass screening operation.
Government officials have asked local health chiefs to hand out 30-minute saliva test kits as NHS test and trace embarks on an “important new front in our fight against coronavirus.”
As part of the new operation, all directors of public health have been urged to sign up to receive rapid-result test kits for up to a tenth of their populations every week.
If the on-the-spot saliva swabs are rolled out, it means up to five million tests could be taken a week.