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April 24, 2020

First patients injected in UK vaccine trial

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.

Elisa Granato, one of the two who received the jab, told the BBC: “I’m a scientist, so I wanted to try to support the scientific process wherever I can.”

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.

“Personally I have a high degree of confidence in this vaccine,” she said.”Of course, we have to test it and get data from humans. We have to demonstrate it actually works and stops people getting infected with coronavirus before using the vaccine in the wider population.”

Prof Gilbert previously said she was “80% confident” the vaccine would work, but now prefers not to put a figure on it, saying simply she is “very optimistic” about its chances.

So how does the vaccine work?

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.

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.

How will they know if it works?

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.

Is it safe?

The trial volunteers will be carefully monitored in the coming months. They have been told that some may get a sore arm, headaches or fevers in the first couple of days after vaccination.

They are also told there is a theoretical risk that the virus could induce a serious reaction to coronavirus, which arose in some early Sars animal vaccine studies.

But the Oxford team says its data suggests the risk of the vaccine producing an enhanced disease is minimal.

Scientists there hope to have one million doses ready by September, and to dramatically scale up manufacturing after that, should the vaccine prove effective.

Source from: https://bbc.in/2KqArFR

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