Human trials of Covid-19 vaccine developed by Oxford University begin in UK
London — In the global scramble for a COVID-19 vaccine, a select number of human trials are now under way, but it’s scientists from England’s University of Oxford who appear most confident that they’re onto a cure.
Professor Sarah Gilbert heads the Oxford team behind the potential vaccine being developed in partnership with the Jenner Institute. She’s said it has an “80% chance” of success, and it could be available for wide use by the public as soon as September.
Human trials of the vaccine began Thursday in Oxford. It will be administered to 510 healthy volunteers between the ages of 18 and 55.
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.
experts say the world will only be able to breathe a real sigh of relief when a vaccine is ready to distribute widely around the world. Despite the confidence of the Oxford scientists and the fast-tracking of human vaccine trials, most experts still think that will take another 12 to 18 months.