Nurse who participated in Oxford trials claims vaccine may be ready in November

A nurse who took part in Oxford’s coronavirus trial said the vaccine is safe and will be available in the UK by November.

Joan Pons, a Sheffield nurse originally from Catalan, took part in the study having seen the “horror” the killer virus can cause.

The volunteer has now claimed the remedy could be available from as early as November – although that has not been confirmed.

Mr Pons, who has lived in the UK for 20 years, offered himself as a “guinea pig” for Oxford scientists developing a vaccine for Covid-19.

The nurse, who reportedly works at Sheffield University Hospital, said: “I wanted to contribute my grain of sand, every day we are losing lives.”

Mr Pons said he feels healthy and claims the vaccine could be ready for the public from as soon as November.

He told Spanish outlet Javea Connect: “Between the end of the month and the beginning of September they hope to be able to present it to the World Health Organization and, if they give the go-ahead, it could go to phase IV, the commercialisation phase.

“There are rumours that they are so sure of its effectiveness that it is already being manufactured in India and Argentina.

“If all goes well, in October the vaccine could already be in Europe, and in November and December in the rest of the world. This is what I will ask of Baltasar, my favourite wizard king.

“It would be the best Christmas present. This is a race against time, every day we lose lives.”

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The nurse was one of thousands volunteers who put themselves forward to test to vaccines.

He took part in a trial for a remedy developed in the UK by scientists at the University of Oxford in partnership with pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca.

Mr Pons said he has had no side effects “beyond the pain of the jab".

He said: “Other colleagues have had a headache, but I have nothing at all. The vaccine is safe.

“My wife got scared, she didn’t talk to me for a couple of days. My parents are at risk profiles and during the confinement, locked up in Barcelona, they had a very bad time.

“In the end, everyone understands that it is for a good reason and that the vaccine is the only solution. And if there are no volunteers, there is no vaccine.”

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“I have seen what the virus does, it is the horror, I have seen how the patients left me… The health personnel also lived with the anxiety of getting infected by doing our work.

“I thought that if I could do something to fight the virus I had to do it, I wanted to put my grain of sand in this battle.

“A friend who works at Oxford called me, he suggested it and I said yes. They were mainly looking for people who had been highly exposed to the virus, such as health personnel. On June 5 they put it on me.”

On Monday, the Government insisted the UK will be first in line for a potential coronavirus vaccine if it is proved to be effective.

The vaccine being developed at the University of Oxford was said to be safe and induces an immune reaction following trials on around 1,000 participants.

Russia claims to have produced the world's first coronavirus vaccine – but scientists are wary that it has not been tested adequately.

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