Trials On UK Coronavirus Vaccine Starting Next Month

The Oxford vaccine is one of five frontrunner Covid-19 vaccines in development globally.

KUALA LUMPUR, March 20 — Oxford University researchers are planning a human trial next month for what is believed to be the United Kingdom’s first Covid-19 vaccine.

The Guardian reported that researchers aim to develop the coronavirus vaccine within months and make it available by the end of the year.

Animal trials on that vaccine will begin next week. Although animal testing must be completed before human trials, the work has been accelerated because similar vaccines have worked safely in trials for other illnesses, the Guardian reported.

“We are conscious that a vaccine is needed as soon as possible and certainly by June–July, when we expect a big peak in mortality,” Prof Adrian Hill, director of the Jenner Institute at Oxford, was quoted saying.

“This is not a normal situation. We will follow all standard trial safety requirements, but as soon as we have a vaccine that’s working, we anticipate there will be an accelerated pathway to get it deployed to save lives. The more vaccine we can provide sooner, the better.”

According to the Guardian, the UK coronavirus vaccine being developed is an “intramuscular injection that uses a harmless, non-replicating virus to smuggle DNA from the coronavirus into the body’s cells.”

“Once inside, the body’s cells use the coronavirus DNA to churn out copies of the ‘spike proteins’ that dot the germ’s surface. It is these that should marshal the immune response against coronavirus infection. Previous studies suggest the vaccine should work with only a single shot,” wrote the Guardian.

According the UK paper, the Oxford vaccine, known as ChAdOx1, is one of the world’s five main Covid-19 vaccines in development. Two US firms — Moderna and Inovio — are working to develop coronavirus vaccines, while CureVac in Germany is also working on one. Others are reportedly in development in China.

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