British drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline has begun producing millions of doses of a new coronavirus vaccine which could come available early next year.
Roger Connor, GSK’s president of global vaccines, revealed that mass production of the vaccine was already underway and was now set to move into the final stage of trials.
It comes after Pfizer gave the world fresh hope for a vaccine when it announced its experimental jab was more than 90 per cent effective in preventing the disease.
The UK has bought up 40 million doses of the jab which could be rolled out to the most vulnerable before Christmas.
And last night it emerged that tens of millions of UK-made coronavirus vaccines will be ready for production by the end of the year, claims a professor overseeing the trial.
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Mr Connor said: “We’re already getting millions of doses manufactured.
“We’re fully resourced and moving – in fact, we were celebrating starting up our Belgium facility the week before last.
“You can imagine the sense of pride that creates in people working on it. They are completely buzzing because they know they’re going to make a difference.”
GSK has committed to producing a billion doses of its jab next year, reports the Mail on Sunday.
It previously said it was aiming for formal approval in the “first half of 2021”.
Professor Andrew Pollard, chief investigator of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine trial, was “optimistic” to get approval on the jab by Christmas.
His team’s work was a “miracle” that was done at “record speed”, he said, adding that the vaccine is on the cusp of demonstrating “efficacy”.
Professor Pollard said the Oxford vaccine will be ten times cheaper than the Pfizer/BioNTech jab and easier to deliver because it doesn’t have to be stored at temperatures below -70C.
The director of the Oxford Vaccine Group told the Sun: “Ours are stored at fridge temperature.”
Researchers around the world are racing to develop and roll out a Covid-19 vaccine for mass use.
Professor Pollard said: “We’re optimistic we’ll be able to demonstrate efficacy by the end of the year.
“We have been working tirelessly all year and can’t wait to see the results in the months ahead.”
AstraZeneca will deliver the vaccine on a not-for-profit basis, he added.
The Government has put in an order for 100million doses of the Oxford/AstraZeneca jab, which is believed to cost £2.23 per dose.
It has also ordered 40million doses of the Pfizer vaccine, which needs two injections thought to cost £29.47.
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