Human trials of British coronavirus vaccine, backed by US, to reach 10,000

WION Web Team London, London, UK (Great Britain) May 22, 2020, 06.29 PM(IST)

Coronavirus Vaccine (representative image) Photograph:( AFP )

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Institutions have begun enrolling up to 10,260 adults and children to see how well the human immune system responds to the vaccine and how safe it is.

Oxford University and AstraZeneca have planned to recruit around 10,000 adults and children in Britain for trials of an experimental coronavirus vaccine, a day after receiving US backing worth up to $1.2 billion.

The British drugmaker has already signed up Britain and the United States as partners to mass produce the vaccine, to be ready for delivery if and when there is conclusive evidence that it both works and is safe to use.

Institutions have begun enrolling up to 10,260 adults and children to see how well the human immune system responds to the vaccine and how safe it is.

Researchers are mainly looking for healthcare staff and other public-facing workers to join the trial as in order to get a clear signal on the vaccine's efficacy, they need a minimum number to catch the coronavirus in their everyday lives.

An initial trial that started on April 23 has already seen more than 1,000 volunteers aged 18-55 receive the injection and Oxford said phases II and III will add people aged 56 and older as well as children of 5 to 12 years.

But a read-out on how well the vaccine works may take between two and six months, Oxford University said on Friday.

AstraZeneca Chief Executive Pascal Soriot said last month that a first indication on efficacy would likely come in June or July.

Healthy volunteers will be randomly assigned to either receive the ChAdOx1 vaccine, also known as AZD1222, or an established meningitis vaccine.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) listed eight vaccines candidates as being tested on humans in a May 15 overview. This includes firms such as Moderna Inc, Inovio, partners Pfizer Inc and BioNTech as well as China's CanSino and Sinovac.

(with inputs from Reuters)