The University of Oxford and AstraZeneca Plc.’s experimental vaccine is the first to enter the final stages of clinical trials to assess how well it works in protecting people from becoming infected by the virus that causes the coronavirus disease (Covid-19), which has infected 9.4 million and killed 480,000 globally since late December.
The ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 vaccine, which has been licenced to AstraZeneca, will be given to 10,260 adults and children in the next stage in the UK. The vaccine is also being trialled in South Africa and Brazil, with Serum Institute of India (SII) investing $100 million to mass-produce one billion doses for India and other low-and-middle-income countries.
The vaccine is made from the ChAdOx1 virus, which is a weakened version of a common cold virus (adenovirus) that causes infections in chimpanzees; it has been genetically changed so it can’t cause infection in humans.
“The clinical studies are progressing very well and we are now initiating studies to evaluate how well the vaccine induces immune responses in older adults, and to test whether it can provide protection in the wider population,” said Professor Andrew Pollard, head of the Oxford Vaccine Group, in a statement on Wednesday.
If the trial is successful, the Oxford Vaccine Group expects to launch the Covid-19 vaccine by the end of this year, which will make it the fastest vaccine to progress from lab to getting regulatory approval for use.
The Oxford Vaccine Group is not the only group to move to a vaccine at warp speed. The pace of vaccine development is accelerating with each passing week with companies from around the word racing to be the first to develop an effective vaccine to stop or at least slow the spread of Covid-19.
There were 13 experimental vaccines in clinical trials and another 129 in the preclinical evaluation stage on June 22, according to the World Health Organisation’s draft landscape of Covid-19 vaccines. On June 12, there were 10 in advanced clinical trials and 115 in preclinical evaluation stages.
Vaccine development, on average, takes 10.71 years from the preclinical phase, and has a success rate of 6%, according to a study in the science journal, PLOS One. Some remain elusive for decades despite massive investments, like for vaccines against HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.
Source: Hindustan Times
BDST: 1436 HRS, JUN 27, 2020