United Kingdom health secretary Matt Hancock announced to media that Coronavirus vaccine developed at Oxford University are to begin on Thursday (21).
Accordingly, The first human trial in Europe of a coronavirus vaccine has begun in Oxford and two more volunteers were injected, the first of more than 800 people recruited for the study.
Half will receive the Covid-19 vaccine, and half a control vaccine which protects against meningitis but not coronavirus.
The vaccine was developed in under three months by a team at Oxford University. Sarah Gilbert, professor of vaccinology at the Jenner Institute, led the pre-clinical research.
“Personally I have a high degree of confidence in this vaccine,” she said, for foreign media.
“Of course, we have to test it and get data from humans. We have to demonstrate it actually works and stops people getting infected with coronavirus before using the vaccine in the wider population.”
The vaccine is made from a weakened version of a common cold virus (known as an adenovirus) from chimpanzees that has been modified so it cannot grow in humans.
The only way the team will know if the Covid-19 vaccine works is by comparing the number of people who get infected with coronavirus in the months ahead from the two arms of the trial.
That could be a problem if cases fall rapidly in the UK, because there may not be enough data.
Prof Andrew Pollard, director of the Oxford Vaccine Group, who is leading the trial, said: “We’re chasing the end of this current epidemic wave. If we don’t catch that, we won’t be able to tell whether the vaccine works in the next few months. But we do expect that there will be more cases in the future because this virus hasn’t gone away.”
A larger trial, of about 5,000 volunteers, will start in the coming months and will have no age limit.
The trial volunteers will be carefully monitored in the coming months. They have been told that some may get a sore arm, headaches or fevers in the first couple of days after vaccination.
Scientists there hope to have one million doses ready by September, and to dramatically scale up manufacturing after that, should the vaccine prove effective.