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Saturday, 18 April 2020

Coronavirus vaccine soon? Oxford scientists aim for 1 million doses of drug candidate by Sept

Coronavirus vaccine soon? Oxford scientists aim for 1 million doses of drug candidate by Sept
The ChAdOx1 is the fourth COVID-19 vaccine candidate in the world to undergo clinical trial phase

Scientists at Oxford University have said that they will be able to come up with a vaccine for the coronavirus by September this year. Earlier, WHO health experts had said that a possible coronavirus vaccine was 1.5 years away at the minimum.
Lead researcher of the vaccine development programme, Prof Sarah Gilbert, at a press conference on Friday, said that she and her team were confident that ChAdOX1 vaccine can work against the coronavirus. The group has promised that they will make one million vaccine doses available by September.
The ChAdOx1 is the fourth COVID-19 vaccine candidate in the world which has entered the clinical trial phase of vaccine development. What's different about the ChAdOx1 is that will take significantly less time than other vaccine candidates to be delivered in mass quantities.
The other three vaccine candidates have been proposed by two US groups and one Chinese group, it is expected to take at least 12 to 18 months to mass produce these vaccines.
Gilbert said her team had been working on a Disease X, a name "given to an unknown disease which was going to come and cause a pandemic in future, and we needed to plan for it."
"With ChAdOx1 technology, already 12 clinical trials have been conducted against different diseases; we consistently see a very good vaccine safety and very strong immune response with single dose, while some other vaccine technologies such as RNA and DNA need two or more," added Gilbert.
Oxford group confident about trail phase
Scientists at Oxford are so confident about the vaccine working that they have already started mass producing it even before the clinical trial phase is stated to begin. Professor Adrian Hill said that the team has started mass production early because they didn't want to reach a stage in September when trials were finished but they didn't have a vaccine ready for distribution.
"We have started at-risk manufacturing this vaccine, not on a small scale but with a network of seven manufacturers in different places across the world," said Hill.
Clinical Trial Phase
The three-phase trial will start with 510 volunteers and will alter expand as 5,000 more volunteers are expected to join by the third phase.
"I have worked on this technology a lot and I have worked on MERS vaccine trails and I have seen what it can do, and I think it has a very strong chance of working," Prof. Gilbert said.
Gilbert's team was awarded a 2.2 million pounds grant from the UK's National Institute for Health Research and the UK Research and Innovation earlier this year to scale up its work.

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