University of Oxford researchers have begun testing a COVID-19 vaccine in human volunteers in Oxford.
Around 1,110 people will take part in the trial, half receiving the vaccine and the other half (the control group) receiving a widely available meningitis vaccine.
Of the first two volunteers to take part, one will likewise receive the vaccine and the other the control.
new vaccine against COVID-19 aims to assess whether healthy people can be protected from COVID-19 with this new vaccine called ChAdOx1 nCoV-19. It will also provide valuable information on safety aspects of the vaccine and its ability to generate good immune responses against the virus.
The vaccine is made from a virus (ChAdOx1), which is a weakened version of a common cold virus (adenovirus) that causes infections in chimpanzees, that has been genetically changed so that it is impossible for it to grow in humans.
‘ ‘By vaccinating with ChAdOx1 nCoV-19, we are hoping to make the body recognise and develop an immune response to the Spike protein that will help stop the SARS-CoV-2 virus from entering human cells and therefore prevent infection.’’ Researchers said.
Vaccines made from the ChAdOx1 virus have been given to more than 320 people to date and have been shown to be safe and well tolerated, although they can cause temporary side effects, such as a temperature, headache or sore arm.
When will the results be available?
To assess whether the vaccine works to protect from COVID-19, the statisticians in team will compare the number of infections in the control group with the number of infections in the vaccinated group. For this purpose, it is necessary for a small number of study participants to develop COVID-19.
How quickly the researchers reach the numbers required will depend on the levels of virus transmission in the community.
‘ ‘If transmission remains high, we may get enough data in a couple of months to see if the vaccine works, but if transmission levels drop, this could take up to 6 months.’’