University of Oxford researchers have begun recruiting volunteers for the ‘next phase’ in human trials of a COVID-19 vaccine after completing the first phase initiated in the month of April that progressed “very well”, the team wrote on the official website. With over 1000 immunisations completed, the next study aims to enroll up to 10,260 adults and children and will involve numerous partner institutions it the UK.
Explaining that phase II requires expanding the age range of human trials, researchers said, “vaccine assessment will now include a small number of older adults and children. "However, the adult participants are involved in both the Phase II and Phase III of the COVID-19 vaccine trial, as per the report released by Oxford’s vaccine group online.
“Groups will be randomised to receive one or two doses of either the ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 vaccine or a licensed vaccine (MenACWY) that will be used as a ‘control’ for comparison,” Oxford's report read. Therefore, the phase III part of the study will involve assessing the vaccine’s performance in a large number of adolescents over the age of 18, and the initial results are expected to arrive by late September.
Andrew Pollard, head of the Oxford Vaccine Group said, "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."
Further, he added, "We are very grateful to the huge support of the trial volunteers in helping test whether this new vaccine could protect humans against the pandemic coronavirus."
Thanks to @HHSGov @SecAzar we’re proud to announce US commitments for @UniofOxford #COVID19 vaccine, as we are working on a number of agreements in parallel to ensure broad & equitable supply throughout the world at no profit during the pandemic. https://t.co/I1yPwrkASO pic.twitter.com/fYXtKRAWX1— AstraZeneca (@AstraZeneca) May 21, 2020
Oxford vaccine researchers reportedly tied up with the pharma giant AstraZeneca and have secured first agreements to produce over 400 million doses of the vaccine, bolstered by a $1 billion investment from a US government agency. The delivery of the vaccines might commence in the fall. While the UK has over 250,908 confirmed cases of the coronavirus and has recorded 36,042 fatalities from the deadly disease, UK government is aiming to have at least 30 million doses of a coronavirus vaccine ready by September if the human trial phase at Oxford University proves to be successful, UK's Business Secretary Alok Sharma said at COVID-19 briefing.