“This is still a development program. We need still to demonstrate that this vaccine works in human populations,” he told BBC Radio. “But the team … have vaccinated several hundred people now and we hope to get some signal about whether it’s working by the middle of June.”
The Oxford University research team is partnering with UK-based global biopharmaceutical company AstraZeneca to develop and manufacture this vaccine on a large scale.
“Once we get an approval by the regulators, we don’t want to have to go back to the beginning and work out how we manufacture it at scale. And we also want to make sure that the rest of the world will be ready to make this vaccine at scale,” Bell said.
According to the university, AstraZeneca will work with global partners on the international distribution of the vaccine, particularly working to make it available and accessible for low- and medium-income countries.
“Both partners have agreed to operate on a not-for-profit basis for the duration of the coronavirus pandemic, with only the costs of production and distribution being covered,” the university said.