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Infectious Diseases

Updated 30 April 2020

Oxford University moves forward in coronavirus vaccine race

Another team of researchers is making progress in the development of a safe, effective vaccine against the new coronavirus.

Last week Health24 reported on the latest coronavirus vaccine development in Germany – the fourth candidate to go to the clinical trial phase.

Now, a vaccine candidate from the Jenner Institute at the Oxford University, UK, was able to leap ahead as they have had previous trials with similar types of injections, according to reports.

What type of vaccine are they developing?

According to information from the Jenner Institute, a chimpanzee adenovirus vaccine vector was chosen as the most suitable vaccine type for the new coronavirus, as it can create a strong immune response from only one dose.

This new development is called ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 and will be produced on a mass-scale.

The vaccine contains the genetic sequence of one of the proteins on the surface spikes of the virus, inside the so-called the ChAdOx1 construct, hence the name of the vaccine.

Once the vaccination is given, the spike protein is produced which gears up the immune system to fight the new coronavirus if it enters and infects the body.

Why were they able to leap ahead?

Chimpanzee adenoviral vectors are well-studied vaccine types and have been used safely in thousands of subjects from a wide age range, targeting over 10 different diseases, according to the press release from Oxford University.

In the case of the vaccine candidate against the new coronavirus, scientists at the National Institute of Health’s Rocky Mountain Laboratory injected six rhesus macaque monkeys with a single dose of the new Oxford vaccine after being exposed to high levels of the virus.

After 28 days, the monkeys were healthy. These promising results helped the vaccine speed forward to a clinical trial that will include more than 6 000 people and take place towards the end of next month.

The first two clinical volunteers have been injected with the new vaccine candidate already and are reportedly doing well.

Are there other vaccines in development?

Yes. Vaccine development is rapidly progressing, even though experts warn that clinical trials do not guarantee success and safety in humans.

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