The first volunteers for the coronavirus vaccine trial have received their first doses as scientists desperately try fight the illness which has now claimed the lives of 18,738 in the UK.
Scientists at the Jenner Institute, University of Oxford, have begun the first human trial in Europe by administering the trial injections, which were developed in under three months, to more than 800 volunteers on Thursday.
The trial will see half of the candidates injected with the coronavirus vaccine, made from a weakened version of the common cold virus from chimpanzees, while the other half will be given a meningitis vaccine.
The volunteers will not be told which vaccine they have received.
Microbiologist and volunteer Elisa Granato told the BBC: ‘Well I’m a scientist so of course I want to try and support the scientific process wherever I can and since I don’t study viruses I felt a bit useless these days so I felt this is a very easy way for me to support the cause.’
Researchers at the institute, who created the vaccine using technology they have previously used for successfully treating diseases such as Mers and Ebola, are ‘confident’ that the trial will pave the way for millions of vaccines being made available to the public by September.
By taking a version of the common cold virus, ChAdOx1, and modifying it so that it does not grow in humans, scientists hope the process will activate an immune response that will protect humans and destroy the virus.
Professor of vaccinology at the Jenner Institute, Sarah Gilbert, who led the pre-clinical research, said she was 80 per cent confident about the outcome of the vaccine.
Source: BBC and Daily Mail