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First Covid-19 Vaccine Trials Begin in the UK

First Covid-19 Vaccine Trials Begin in the UK

Phase I of the new Covid-19 vaccine trials set up to begin today in the UK.

Researchers at the University of Oxford are recruiting up to 1112 healthy volunteers, aged between 18 and 55, across multiple locations in the UK. These volunteers may become the first humans to test the new Covid-19 candidate vaccine, the ChAdOx1 nCoV-19.

ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 Vaccine

This vaccine is a weakened version of a chimpanzee-infecting adenovirus, which has been previously shown to generate strong immune responses. ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 was engineered to express the spike protein, a key protein that SARS-CoV-2 uses to open the doors to human cells. Researchers hope this viral vector will thus be able to generate immune responses against the spike protein and prevent SARS-CoV2 from infecting human cells.

Adenovirus is a well-studied and frequently used viral vector and has passed several safety tests. Because ChAdOx1 is an attenuated version of the virus, it does not replicate in the body and will not be able to cause infection, thus making it safer to administer to the elderly and children.

Phase 1

In this first phase of the clinical trial, of 1102 volunteers, half will receive the ChAdOx1 vector, while the other half will serve as a control population. After close monitoring, the research team will compare the number of infections on the control group and on the groups that received the vaccine. Results can take up to six months to become available.

Meanwhile, German regulatory bodies gave a green-light to another vaccine candidate, which will go into trials by the end of April. 

For more information about the clinical trial, visit the institution webpage dedicated to the candidate vaccine.