As the U.S. toll is now 19,424, with nearly half a million confirmed cases, we have surpassed Italy’s total of 18,849. As of April 13, Italy has 147,577 infected with the virus. The race to find a vaccine for COVD-19 is underway. A leading British scientist is saying that she is 80 percent confident that a COVID-19 vaccine could be ready by the fall.
“The ultimate solution to a virus that might be coming back would be a vaccine. The same way a vaccine for other diseases that were scourges in the past that now we don’t even worry about,” says the White House health adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases since 1984.
Sarah Gilbert, a vaccinology professor at Oxford University, told the Times of London that her team has potentially developed a COVID-19 vaccine that could be ready in 6 months, “if everything goes perfectly”.
Matt Hancock, Britain’s health secretary, has called Gilbert and her team’s progress on the COVID-19 vaccine a sign of “hope” amid the pandemic that has killed at least 9,875 people in the United Kingdom, as of April 13.
Gilbert is convinced that the vaccine could be ready as early as September of 2020, as human trials are set to begin within the next two weeks. As the scientist has been quoted in the Times of London saying that “nobody can promise it’s going to work,” but she is optimistic in the 80 percent success rate thus far.
“I think there’s a high chance that it will work, based on other things that we have done with this type of vaccine,” Gilbert said. “It’s not just a hunch, and as every week goes by, we have more data to look at.”
The global effort
Gilbert’s team at Oxford is working hard at finding the COVID-19 vaccine alongside dozens of other scientists around the world with the World Health Organization (WHO) and dedicating their lives to fighting COVID-19, including U.S. firms Moderna and Inovio.
Declaration from the World Health Organization (WHO)
We are scientists, physicians, funders and manufacturers who have come together as part of an international collaboration, coordinated by the World Health Organization (WHO), to help speed the availability of a vaccine against COVID-19. While a vaccine for general use takes time to develop, a vaccine may ultimately be instrumental in controlling this worldwide pandemic. In the interim, we applaud the implementation of community intervention measures that reduce spread of the virus and protect people, including vulnerable populations, and pledge to use the time gained by the widespread adoption of such measures to develop a vaccine as rapidly as possible. We will continue efforts to strengthen the unprecedented worldwide collaboration, cooperation and sharing of data already underway. We believe these efforts will help reduce inefficiencies and duplication of effort, and we will work tenaciously to increase the likelihood that one or more safe and effective vaccines will soon be made available to all.
The WHO team of health experts is calling everyone to “follow recommendations to prevent the transmission of the COVID-19 virus and protect the health of individuals. The group also thanks everyone for putting their trust in the scientific community.”