Covid-19 vaccine: Research on at Oxford lab, clinical trial on humans soon

Covid-19 vaccine: Research on at Oxford lab, clinical trial on humans soon thumbnail
A researcher works on a vaccin against the new coronavirus COVID-19 at the Copenhagen's University research la...Read MoreBENGALURU: University of Oxford researchers working in vaccine development effort to prevent Covid-19 have started screening healthy volunteers (aged 18-55) for their upcoming ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 vaccine trial in the Thames Valley Region. The trial has been approved by…

A researcher works on a vaccin against the new coronavirus COVID-19 at the Copenhagen’s University research la…Read More

BENGALURU: University of Oxford researchers working in vaccine development effort to prevent Covid-19 have started screening healthy volunteers (aged 18-55) for their upcoming ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 vaccine trial in the Thames Valley Region.

The trial has been approved by UK regulators and ethical reviewers and interested candidates will have to volunteer for the programme.

The vaccine, the university said, is based on an adenovirus vaccine vector and the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein is already in production but won’t be ready for some weeks still.

“The team will enrol healthy volunteers aged between 18 – 55, who, if they pass screening, will be the first humans to test the new vaccine, called ChAdOx1 nCoV-19,” the varsity said in a statement.

The trial will provide valuable information on the safety aspects of the vaccine, as well as its ability to generate an immune response against the virus.

The trial — collaboration between the University’s Jenner Institute and Oxford Vaccine Group clinical teams — will recruit up to 510 volunteers.

They will receive either the ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 vaccine or a control injection for comparison.

“Whilst the team will start screening people now to see if they are eligible to take part in the study, participants will not receive the vaccine for some weeks,” the statement added.

Detailed pre-clinical work is being done and the vaccine is being manufactured to clinical grade standard at the Clinical Biomanufacturing Facility at Oxford University.

Researchers are working as quickly as possible to get the vaccine ready to be used in the trial, which includes further preclinical investigations and production of a larger number of doses of the vaccine.

Professor Adrian Hill, Director, Jenner Institute at the University of Oxford, said: “…Vaccines are being designed from scratch and progressed at an unprecedented rate. The upcoming trial will be critical for assessing the feasibility of vaccination against COVID-19 and could lead to early deployment.”

Professor Andrew Pollard, Chief Investigator on the study, said,l that starting the clinical trials is the first step in the efforts to find out whether the new vaccine being developed at Oxford University works and could safely play a central role in controlling the pandemic coronavirus that is sweeping the globe.

Scientists around the world are working hard to develop a vaccine to prevent COVID-19, but there is a lot to be done. The Oxford team led by Professor Sarah Gilbert, Professor Andrew Pollard, Professor Teresa Lambe, Dr Sandy Douglas and Professor Adrian Hill started work designing a vaccine on Friday 10th January 2020.

The vaccine is an adenovirus vaccine vector (ChAdOx1) and was developed at Oxford’s Jenner Institute. It was chosen as the most suitable vaccine technology for a SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) vaccine as it can generate a strong immune response from one dose and it is not a replicating virus, so it cannot cause an ongoing infection in the vaccinated individual.

This also makes it safer to aminister to children, the elderly and anyone with a pre-existing condition such as diabetes. Adenoviral vectors are a very well-studied vaccine type, having been used safely in thousands of subjects, from 1 week to 90 years of age, in vaccines targeting over 10 different diseases.

According to Oxford University’s press release, preclinical evaluation of its ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 vaccine is being conducted in parallel to Phase 1 in collaboration with the US Rocky Mountain Laboratories and through the ‘CSIROxbridge Consortium’.

“The ‘CSIROxbridge Consortium’ (Principal Investigator Professor S. S. Vasan) is led by Australia’s science agency CSIRO for ‘High Containment Studies to Support Product Development’ for CEPI”, the University has said. Rocky Mountain Laboratories specialises in primate research, while the CSIRO team was the first in the world to establish the ferret model as reported by TOI. The efficacy data from ferrets and primates along with Phase 1 human safety data will be critical for this vaccine to advance to Phase 2 human trials in the coming months.

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