An accelerated covid-19 human vaccine trial that will cover as many as 6000 individuals in the UK has begun.
The vaccine project, which is being run by the Jenner Institute and Oxford Vaccine Group kicked off on April 24th and it is funded by the British Government.
The first stage of the trial will begin with healthy young men. Other categories of people be will be added down the road.
In a deal with WHO, Britain will collaborate with 20 other developed countries to speed up the process, share the results, develop at least one million vaccines for use globally by September this year and rump up production from there.
When asked by the British newspaper, The Telegraph how the Oxford group moved so quickly, Professor Sarah Gilbert, who is leading the study, said it was their ongoing research into Disease X – an as yet unknown infectious agent earmarked as a potential pandemic in the making – which allowed them to pivot so quickly to Covid-19.
“Last year my team was already working on vaccines against Lassa Fever, Mers, which is another coronavirus vaccine, and also Disease X,” Professor Gilbert said.
“Obviously we didn’t know what kind of pathogen Disease X was going to be but we were putting plans in place in case it did pop up and we needed to respond to it.”
The particular type of technology the team is testing has also quickened the process.
“The ChAdOx vaccine, is a so-called platform technology, which can be used to make vaccines against lots of different diseases.”
“We understand the technology really well and the ethical and regulatory bodies are also really familiar with it… and so that allows us to move faster when we need to.”