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First Human Trial In Europe of a Coronavirus Vaccine Has Begun In Oxford

An anonymous reader quotes a report from the BBC: The first human trial in Europe of a coronavirus vaccine has begun in Oxford. Two volunteers were injected, the first of more than 800 people recruited for the study. Half will receive the Covid-19 vaccine, and half a control vaccine which protects against meningitis but not coronavirus. The design of the trial means volunteers will not know which vaccine they are getting, though doctors will. The vaccine was developed in under three months by a team at Oxford University. Sarah Gilbert, professor of vaccinology at the Jenner Institute, led the pre-clinical research.

The vaccine is made from a weakened version of a common cold virus (known as an adenovirus) from chimpanzees that has been modified so it cannot grow in humans. The Oxford team has already developed a vaccine against Mers, another type of coronavirus, using the same approach — and that had promising results in clinical trials. The only way the team will know if the Covid-19 vaccine works is by comparing the number of people who get infected with coronavirus in the months ahead from the two arms of the trial. That could be a problem if cases fall rapidly in the UK, because there may not be enough data. Researchers say they hope to have one million doses ready by September, and to dramatically scale up manufacturing after that, should the vaccine prove effective.

“A larger trial, of about 5,000 volunteers, will start in the coming months and will have no age limit,” the report adds. There’s also another team at Imperial College London that hopes to begin human trials of its coronavirus vaccine in June.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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