There seems to be a ray of hope in the fight against COVID-19 as a vaccine trial by a team of British researchers has entered the second phase following preliminary testing on a small sample size of 160 patients.
The researchers are aiming to produce their first one million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine by September if the trial is eventually successful.
The pharmaceutical giant, AstraZeneca, said it has the capacity to make a billion doses of the Oxford vaccine as it has secured an agreement to produce at least 400 million doses when the trial is complete.
The scientists from the Jenner Institute at Oxford University in collaboration with the Oxford Vaccine Group said the research had been ongoing since January and that they were now looking at recruiting over 10,000 people to take part in further trials following preliminary efforts in April.
The group said the trial would involve people of all age demographics — from children older than five years to the elderly — to help test the effectiveness of the vaccine, called ChAdOx1 nCoV-19, in a wider variety of people.
The vaccine, which was developed using an altered virus that affects chimpanzees, combined with the virus that causes COVID-19 in humans, SARS-CoV-2, had positive effects in animal trials.
It would now be given to subjects alongside a licensed vaccine, MenACWY, which is used to combat meningitis and blood poisoning, which would serve as a ‘control comparison.’
The head of the Oxford Vaccine Group, Prof. Andrew Pollard, said: “The clinical studies are progressing very well, and we are now initiating studies to evaluate how well the vaccine induces immune responses in older adults and to test whether it can provide protection in the wider population.
“Preparation for mass production of the vaccine is already underway in anticipation of the trial proving successful.”