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Oxford invites 500 volunteers for Covid-19 vaccine trial

London, March 28 (IANS) Researchers at the University of Oxford have sought over 500 healthy volunteers to test the efficacy of their vaccine, ChAdOx1 nCoV-19, against coronavirus.

The team will enrol healthy volunteers aged 18-55 years. On clearing screening, they would become the first humans to receive the new vaccine, the university said on Friday. Interested people could volunteer to participate on the Covid-19 vaccine website, University of Oxford said.

During the trial, a collaboration between the university's Jenner Institute and the Oxford Vaccine Group clinical teams, the volunteers will receive either the ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 vaccine or a control injection for comparison.

The trial, approved by the UK regulators and ethical reviewers, will provide data on the safety of the vaccine as well as its ability to generate an immune response against the virus.

The trial includes preclinical investigations and production of a larger number of doses of the vaccine. The preclinical work is on and the vaccine is being manufactured to clinical grade standard at the Clinical Biomanufacturing Facility at Oxford University.

“The Oxford team had exceptional experience of a rapid vaccine response, such as to the ebola outbreak in West Africa in 2014. This is an even greater challenge. Vaccines are being designed from scratch and progressed at an unprecedented rate,” said Professor Adrian Hill, Director of the Jenner Institute.

“The trial will be critical for assessing the feasibility of vaccination against Covid-19 and could lead to early deployment,” Hill said.

Scientists around the world are working hard to develop a vaccine for Covid-19, but there is a lot to be done.

The Oxford team led by Sarah Gilbert, Andrew Pollard, Teresa Lambe, Sandy Douglas and Adrian Hill started their work on January 10, 2020.

The vaccine is an adenovirus vaccine vector (ChAdOx1) and was developed at the Jenner Institute. It was chosen as the most suitable vaccine technology for a SARS-CoV-2 (Covid-19) vaccine as it could generate a strong immune response from one dose and was not a replicating virus and thus couldn't cause an ongoing infection in the vaccinated individual, the university said.

It also made it safer for children, the elderly and anyone with a pre-existing condition, such as diabetes, it added.

Adenoviral vectors are a well-studied vaccine type, used safely in thousands of participants, from 1 week to 90 years of age, in vaccines targeting over 10 different diseases.

–IANS

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