Oxford University to Begin Human Trials of Coronavirus Vaccine Next Week
Researchers confident they can roll it out to millions by autumn and end COVID-19
Oxford University has announced that it begins human trails of a new coronavirus vaccine next week.
Scientists at the British college say they are confident they cal roll the COVID-19 vaccine out to millions of people by the Autumn, finally putting an end to the Chinese virus.
Testing of the experimental shot on different animals has shown promise, with tests of the vaccine on humans the next step it to proving it is safe to use.
The Oxford team is just one of the hundreds worldwide racing to develop a coronavirus jab, which experts fear could take up to 18 months to develop.
Over 70 vaccines are currently in development, according to the controversial China-linked World Health Organization (WHO).
One group in China and two more in the US have already started trials on humans.
Oxford's vaccine program has already recruited 510 people, aged between 18 and 55, to take part in the first trial, according to The Daily Mail.
They will receive either the ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 vaccine - which has been developed in Oxford - or a control injection for comparison.
Professor Adrian Hill, who will lead the research, said: "We are going into human trials next week.
"We have tested the vaccine in several different animal species.
"We have taken a fairly cautious approach, but a rapid one to assess the vaccine that we are developing."
The team's vaccine comes from chimpanzees, who are injected with the coronavirus to produce antibodies that can be used to bolster the immune system of humans.
It is hoped the vaccine, developed by the Jenner Institute and Oxford Vaccine Group clinical teams, will be ready in September.
Speaking to the BBC World Service, Professor Hill explained they're trying to raise money to scale up the manufacturing of the vaccine.
He said: "We're a university, we have a very small in-house manufacturing facility that can do dozens of doses.
"That's not good enough to supply the world, obviously.
"We are working with manufacturing organizations and paying them to start the process now.
"So by the time July, August, September comes - whenever this is looking good - we should have the vaccine to start deploying under emergency use recommendations.
"That's a different approval process to commercial supply, which often takes many more years."
Professor Hill added: "There is no point in making a vaccine that you can't scale up and may only get 100,000 doses for after a huge amount of investment.
"You need a technology that allows you to make not millions but ideally billions of doses over a year."
The Oxford team last week announced hopes to have the vaccine ready for autumn, saying they were "80 percent" confident it would work.
Sarah Gilbert, a professor of vaccinology, admitted that this time frame was "highly ambitious" many things could get in the way of that target.
The drug industry is hoping to shorten the time it takes to get a vaccine to market – usually about 10 to 15 years – to within the next year.
Of the US-based drug companies, Massachusetts-based Moderna got regulatory approval to move to human trials last month.
Forty-five participants in Seattle received the experimental jab - developed with the National Institutes of Health (NIH) - in March to test its safety.
There is no chance participants could get infected from the shots because they don’t contain the virus itself.
Moderna took a different route to traditional vaccine techniques.
Normally a weaker bug is planted in the body – like the MMR vaccine.
But Moderna’s sees messenger RNA stimulate the immune system to make similar proteins to the killer virus, which it can then combat.
Pennsylvania-based Inovio Pharmaceuticals began its human trials last week, in 40 healthy volunteers in Philadelphia and Missouri.
Inovio's approach is what's called a DNA vaccine, made using a section of the virus's genetic code packaged inside a piece of synthetic DNA.