Oxford scientist 'optimistic' COVID-19 vaccine will be ready in UK by end of year

Oxford scientist 'optimistic' COVID-19 vaccine will be ready in UK by end of year
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A researcher who's part of Oxford University’s COVID-19 vaccine trials said on Wednesday there is a small possibility that the results of the vaccine could be ready in the U.K. by the end of the year.

“The first step is to reach the point where we can do an analysis and figure out whether or not the vaccine works. ... I'm optimistic that we could reach that point before the end of this year," vaccinologist Andrew Pollard told U.K. lawmakers, according to CNN.

This news does not indicate when the vaccine would be made available if it in fact works, and Pollard stressed that the results would need to be approved by regulators before being distributed.

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The U.K. announced last week that it would be going into a second national lockdown due to rising coronavirus cases. Other countries in Europe as well as the U.S. have all seen spikes in coronavirus cases. 

Pollard's statement on Wednesday supports what Anthony FauciAnthony FauciGOP Rep. Cawthorn says he wants to 'prosecute' Fauci The Hill's Morning Report - Pelosi considers adding GOP voices to Jan. 6 panel McConnell pushes vaccines, but GOP muddles his message MORE, a member of the White House coronavirus task force and a top immunologist, recently said in an October interview.

Fauci was asked by BBC host Andrew Marr about President TrumpDonald TrumpPoll: 73 percent of Democratic voters would consider voting for Biden in the 2024 primary Biden flexes presidential muscle on campaign trail with Virginia's McAuliffe Has Trump beaten the system? MORE’s claims that a vaccine would be ready in a few weeks, to which he replied, “I believe he said that correctly, we will know whether a vaccine is safe and effective by the end of November, the beginning of December.”

He went on to clarify that if any vaccines were found to be safe and effective, they likely would not be widely available until the middle of next year, with front-line workers receiving vaccines early in 2021.

Oxford University is currently developing its vaccine with British pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca. The company recently resumed trials in the U.S. after a brief pause when a participant developed an “unexplained illness.”

Updated: 4:20 p.m.