The AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine could be approved by UK regulators “shortly after” Christmas, according to a medical scientist.
Professor Sir John Bell, Oxford University’s regius professor of medicine, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that he expects approval by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) “pretty shortly”.
He said: “They got data quite a long time ago but that was the first set of data. They receive multiple sets of data. So we are getting to be about prime time now, I would expect some news pretty shortly.
“I doubt we’ll make Christmas now, but just after Christmas I would expect. I have no concerns whatsoever that the data looks better than ever.”
Approval of the Oxford vaccine would be a major boost to efforts to control Covid-19 because it is easier to distribute than the Pfizer/BioNTech jab currently being used in the UK.
The government has ordered 100 million doses of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine, with around 40 million available by the end of March.