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Wednesday 8 July 2020

Vaccine for COVID: Large-scale human trial begins in UK

The UK government has granted Oxford University £ 20 million for one vaccine project and £ 220 million to the Imperial College for another

Across the world, trials on the vaccine have intensified amidst the havoc of the coronavirus disease (COVID) pandemic. The biggest clinical trial of the anti-coronavirus vaccine started on Thursday at the University of Oxford in Britain.

The trial, which is taking place at an unprecedented pace in the UK, is expected to serve the whole world. Scientists say that the vaccine developed by the ChAdOx1 technique is expected to have a success rate of 80%, says Research director Professor Sarah Gilbert of the Jenner Institute that is running the trial at the University of Oxford.

This vaccine will be tested in 165 hospitals in the UK on about 5,000 patients and in hundreds of people in Europe and America for a month. “This is the largest trial in the world,” says Professor Peter Horby of Oxford University’s Department of Infectious Diseases.

Professor Horby had previously led an Ebola drug trial.

Meanwhile, Britain’s Health Minister Matt Hancock has said that two vaccines lead various similar efforts in the fight to prevent COVID. He said that one was being prepared at Oxford and the other at Imperial College.

According to Hancock, the university has received up to £ 20 million in funding from the UK government for this vaccine project. For the second vaccine project, the UK government has granted £ 220 million to the Imperial College.

The Jenner Institute aims to make a million doses of this vaccine by September so that it can be passed on to the people as soon as possible. Once the potential of the vaccine is known, the production will be increased. The world is going to need crores of doses. Only then will this global pandemic end and the lockdown will be lifted.

Oxford University is testing the vaccine first on young people. If successful, this vaccine will be tested on people of other age groups. According to the Jenner Institute, it will be known in two months how much the merged vaccine will be able to impact the pandemic.

Vaccine development technique tested on patients of MERS

There are seven types of coronaviruses, of which those causing SARS and MERS have previously devastated societies.

The ChAdOx1 and MVA viral vectors have earlier been used to develop vaccines against the an older type of coronavirus that causes the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome or MERS. ChAdOx1 MERS vaccines were produced with or without the leader sequence of the human tissue plasminogen activator gene (tPA) where MVA MERS vaccines were produced with tPA. ChAdOx1 MERS with tPA induced higher neutralising antibodies than ChAdOx1 MERS without tPA.

Normally, a vaccine takes between 12 and 18 months to reach the people from the laboratory where it is developed. According to the World Health Organisation, which has seen a fall from grace of late due to the allegation of its nexus with China, that is the minimum time a vaccine should be given to reach the market, as it involves several stages like research, development, trials on animals and often at least three rounds of trials on human beings.

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