London [UK], May 24 (ANI): The much talked about Oxford University's vaccine trial to treat corona patients has only a 50 per cent chance of success because of low community transmission of COVID-19 in Britain.
There are nearly 224 vaccines in development in various countries and institutes around the world where Oxford Univerity's vaccine is considered among the leaders in the race.
However, Prof Adrian Hill, director of the university's Jenner Institute, said an upcoming Oxford vaccine trial, involving 10,000 volunteers, threatened to return "no result" due to low transmission of COVID-19 in the community, The Sydney Morning Herald has reported.
Given the declining rate of COVID-19, Prof Hill said that his team now faced a major hurdle, in coming up with a vaccine in the set deadline of September.
"It is a race, yes. But it is not a race against the other guys. It is a race against the virus disappearing, and against time," he said. "At the moment, there's a 50 per cent chance that we get no result at all."
"We are in the bizarre position of wanting COVID to stay, at least for a little while. But cases are declining," added Prof Hill as quoted by The Sydney Morning Herald.
Out of the 10,000 people recruited to test the vaccine, Hill says if fewer than 20 test positive, then the results might be futile.
Prof Hill added that Oxford University had called for the vaccine, to not be prioritised in any way toward richer countries, following the US announced that it will buy 400 million doses in USD 1.2 billion deal.
"The reputational damage to the University would be enormous if we provided the vaccine only for the UK and the US, and not for the rest of those countries of the world where it's very likely that the pandemic will still be raging," he said.
Prof Hill further said that the vaccine should be supplied to the countries of greatest need rather than "the countries who got there first."
Earlier this month, Business Secretary Alok Sharma had said that it is possible that the United Kingdom may never find a successful COVID-19 vaccine.
"...in spite of the tireless efforts of our scientists, it is possible that we may never find a successful coronavirus vaccine," Sharma had said during a daily press brief.
Despite certain apprehensions, the countries across the globe are rushing their vaccine projects, and some including China and the US have even announced a tentative date.
Of the 10 vaccine candidates that have progressed to human trials globally, six are in China and it is the only country to have a candidate now firmly into phase two trials.
Dr Melanie Saville, Cepi's director of vaccine development, said it is pertinent that a large number of vaccines are in the making, adding that "ultimately there would need to be more than one vaccine to cover the world."
Dr Saville said the global race to find a vaccine is a "competition with the virus." "We are seeing a lot of sharing. Companies are publishing data as it becomes available."
Earlier this week, at the 73rd World Health Assembly (WHA), most countries with the exception of the US, backed a resolution calling for the equitable distribution of any successful vaccines globally.
"All you need is one government not to co-operate... to misbehave and not play by the rules of the game, and it becomes very hard for everyone else too," said Prof Devi Sridhar, Chair of Global Public Health at Edinburgh University.
There are over 5,354,539 cases of coronavirus globally with 343,116 fatalities, according to the Johns Hopkins University. (ANI)