A human guinea pig in the paused Oxford University coronavirus vaccine trial has given a grim warning about when the injection may become widely available.
A human guinea pig in the paused Oxford University coronavirus vaccine trial has given a grim warning about when the injection may become widely available.

Brutal reality about Oxford COVID-19 vaccine

A participant in the paused Oxford University vaccine trial has warned that social distancing may be needed until the middle of next year.

Jack Sommers, who was jabbed with the groundbreaking vaccine candidate, said he had always thought timelines for the rollout were optimistic.

He said the thorough checks he was subjected to in the trial were always likely to lead to delays in its approval.

Mr Sommers, who lives in London, said that the Oxford researchers would not rush the trial.

"I'm not really surprised, they sent us an email to tell us this was normal. Someone had fallen ill and they email us all the time reminding you to tell them to remember to tell them if you go to hospital," he told News Corp Australia.

 

Prime Minister Scott Morrison meets with a team member at AstraZeneca last month after announcing a deal to buy the vaccine. Picture: Getty Images
Prime Minister Scott Morrison meets with a team member at AstraZeneca last month after announcing a deal to buy the vaccine. Picture: Getty Images

He said that the stage 3 trial included a wider group of people, including those in an older or at risk category, which increased the chances of them being hospitalised for any reason.

"There's 18,000 people in the trial and it's not to be unexpected that someone would go to hospital," he said.

The study stopped enrolling new volunteers this week while it examines why someone involved in the stage 3 trial was hospitalised.

It was the second time that the trial, which now has 18,000 of the required 30,000 volunteers, was paused.

Health Minister Greg Hunt, who has signed a deal for 25 million doses, had hoped to roll out the vaccine in January, while Britain's Health Secretary Matt Hancock had said it could be approved before Christmas until this week's setback.

 

 

 

Doctors are now investigating whether the adverse reaction, reportedly a spinal inflammation, was caused by the vaccine or was pre-existing.

Mr Sommers was included in the first and second stage of the trial of 1077 people, which reported in late July that the vaccine had produced antibodies and the crucial T-cell response in volunteers.

It also found that those who received a booster shot had stronger immunity - meaning that it could require two doses if approved.

Mr Sommers, 35, had a sore arm, similar to any normal vaccine, and did not record a high temperature or any other side effects.

He was screened at St George's Hospital in Tooting, south London, and has provided blood samples.

 

 

 

Prince William visited scientists to get a progress update on the Oxford vaccine in June. Picture: Getty Images
Prince William visited scientists to get a progress update on the Oxford vaccine in June. Picture: Getty Images

Medical staff have requested that he return for an appointment in November to give another sample.

He said that the original timelines of a vaccine by September were ambitious.

"I gave a blood sample each time and I will know eventually whether I had the placebo. The predictions of it coming in really early sounded optimistic. I thought there was no way it would be ready by September," he said.

He warned that it may be until the middle of next year before social distancing rules, including testing temperature on entry to restaurants, could be eased.

"I think we will be doing that until next (English) summer," he said.

 

Oxford scientists have been cautious with the roll out of the vaccine, even though United States president Donald Trump had been pushing for it to be approved ahead of the federal election on November 3.

British medical plants were due to take receipt of the vaccine by this week, where it would be filled and ready to be shipped to health services if it was approved.

The vaccine will be produced in Australia by CSL following a deal with its manufacturer AstraZeneca.

The company said in a statement: "This is a routine action which has to happen whenever there is a potentially unexplained illness in one of the trials, while it is investigated."

stephen.drill@news.co.uk

Originally published as Brutal reality about Oxford COVID-19 vaccine



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