The health secretary Matt Hancock has announced that human trials of a potential coronavirus vaccine developed at the University of Oxford are to begin this Thursday.
Professor Sarah Gilbert, a professor of vaccinology, alongside her team of scientists, has been working towards developing a vaccine that would protect against the coronavirus.
Though some experts have suggested that an effective vaccine could be up to 18 months away, the professor said that she is “80% confident” that the vaccine being developed could be ready for public use by September.
There are dozens of teams working to develop a vaccine, and Gilbert’s is amongst the most advanced in the UK.
During the daily 10 Downing Street press conference, Mr Hancock stated that the government was “throwing everything” at the vaccine drive, announcing that he was providing £20 million to the Oxford team to help fund their clinical trials.
He added that a further £22.5 million was being provided to researchers at Imperial College London who are also working on a vaccine for the deadly virus.
The health secretary said:
“The team have accelerated that trials process, working with the regulator the MHRA (Medicines and Healthcare Regulatory Agency), who have been brilliant.”
“As a result, I can announce that the vaccine from the Oxford project will be trialled in people from this Thursday.”
He added: “In normal times, reaching this stage would take years and I’m very proud of the work undertaken so far.”
He further added that the government will also invest in the manufacturing of the vaccines so that if either two of the vaccine works safely, it will then be made available to the UK public “as early as humanly possible”.
The health secretary also warned and said that: “Nothing about this process is certain. Vaccine development is a matter of trial and error and trial again. That’s the nature of how vaccines are developed.”
Alhamdulillāh, the news of a potential cure to this lethal virus makes one very happy. However, we should ensure that we do not fall into the trap of becoming complacent. We should continue to place our trust in Allāh (subḥānahu wa taʿālā), and in circumstances like today, we must remind ourselves to turn back to Allāh. It is He (subḥānahu wa taʿālā) that controls everything, and He is the only One that can relieve us from our difficult circumstances.
In addition, we should also make sure to continue to follow the advice provided – everyone must stay at home to help stop the spread of coronavirus.
Mr Hancock warned that hopes of a breakthrough on a vaccine should not tempt people to become complacent in carrying out social distancing measures.
The health secretary said: “Coronavirus is a powerful enemy…Every day the science gets better, we gather more information, we understand more about how to defeat the illness…But in the meantime there’s one thing we can do – and that is stay home, protect the NHS, and save lives.”
The deadly coronavirus was first detected in Wuhan, China in December, but is now prevalent in 210 countries and territories around the world as well as 2 international conveyances.
At the time of writing, there are over 2.5 million registered coronavirus cases worldwide, with more than 175,000 deaths.
Indeed we belong to Allāh, and to Him we shall return. We ask Allāh (subḥānahu wa taʿālā) to keep us all safe, healthy, and able to take this opportunity to turn back to Him, seeking forgiveness. May Allāh (subḥānahu wa taʿālā) cure our sick, protect our elderly, and accept those that have returned to him after having the coronavirus as martyrs, āmīn.
It is also important to note that over 677,000 people have recovered so far from the deadly virus, alhamdulillāh.
Finally, only Allāh (subḥānahu wa taʿālā) knows if this vaccine will ultimately work, and if it does, how long it will take to produce. However, we do have treatments taught to us by our Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam), for it is from tawakkul to believe in them and seek cure to anything through them when the need arises, by the permission of Allāh.
Usāmah b. Sharīk said: “Some Bedouins asked: ‘O Messenger of Allāh (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) shall we treat [our ill]?’ He said: ‘Yes, O worshipers of Allāh! Use remedies. For indeed Allāh did not make a disease but He made a cure for it [or a remedy]. Except for one disease.’ They said: ‘O Messenger of Allāh (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam)! What is it?’ He said: ‘old age.’”
Click below to read some examples from the Sunnah to see what our Prophet Muhammad (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) taught us when he or others were sick.
May Allāh (subḥānahu wa taʿālā) protect us all and allow a cure to be found for this and all other diseases.