A University of Oxford professor has suggested that we could be ready to roll out a vaccine to the public as early as September.
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. She announced that the vaccine developed will begin human trails within the next two weeks.
Gilbert reassuringly added that her conclusion is ‘not just a hunch’ and that it is based on the data currently available. A clearer picture will begin to form in the coming weeks as more data becomes available, particularly when human trials begin.
These remarks come as the total number of deaths worldwide continue to increase. At the time of writing, there are over 1.7 million registered coronavirus cases worldwide, with more than 108 thousand deaths. Indeed we belong to Allāh, and to Him we shall return. It is also important to note that over 400 thousand people have recovered so far from the deadly virus, alhamdulillāh.
Nevertheless, Professor Gilbert did add the slight caveat that this timeline is only possible ‘if everything goes perfectly’, warning that ‘nobody can promise it’s going to work’.
Professor Stephen Evans from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine has also encouraged cautious optimism following Gilbert’s announcement. He noted that developing a vaccine that is effective and safe to use is one thing, though having a vaccine that can be rolled out to millions of people across the UK is an entirely different matter.
Other experts have also noted that key workers and vulnerable people are likely to be prioritised when a vaccine is developed, and that Professor Gilbert’s announcement does not mean that the government will have 60 million vaccines available for everyone in the UK.
The current lockdown situation, which could potentially be extended, could also make it more difficult to test the vaccine. Human contact is low, and therefore it will take longer to obtain the data required to determine the efficacy of the vaccine.
As such, Professor Gilbert’s team is planning studies worldwide where lockdowns are at different stages. This will mean that places that have higher rates of transmission and human contact will allow for efficacy results to be obtained far more quickly, improving the prospect of a September delivery.
As the logistical aspects of delivering the vaccine will prove to be difficult to surmount, Professor Gilbert also added that she is in discussions with the UK government about funding and beginning productions before the final results come in. This would mean that the government would be in a position to deliver and provide access to the vaccine as soon as it is proven to work safely.
In circumstances like today, we must remind ourselves to turn back to Allāh. He (subḥānahu wa taʿālā) controls everything, and He is the only One that can relieve us from our difficult circumstances.
We ask Allāh to keep us firm and to allow us to return to Him. We ask Him to forgive us and provide us with His Protection.
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.
We ask Allāh (subḥānahu wa taʿālā) to keep us all safe, healthy, and to enable us to take this opportunity to turn back to Him seeking forgiveness, and to cure our sick and protect our elderly. May Allāh (subḥānahu wa taʿālā) also accept those that have returned to him after having the coronavirus as martyrs, āmīn.