The UK began testing a vaccine on humans, but they acknowledge that mass production will not begin anytime soon.
Coronavirus continues to spread around the world with great speed. That is why scientists from different countries began the race in search of a vaccine that can free the planet from the disease. Scientists are in no hurry to predict the timing of its production, but the closest to the result are in the UK.
In the UK, on April 23, a potential human coronavirus vaccine being developed at Oxford University was launched. The country’s health minister, Matt Hancock, said he was “throwing all his strength” into the country to create it.
Hancock pledged £20 million to finance the Oxford project and £22.5 million for the clinical trials of another prototype at Imperial College London.
“The UK is at the front of the global effort. We have put more money than any other country into a global search for a vaccine and, for all the efforts around the world, two of the leading vaccine developments are taking place here at home – at Oxford and Imperial.”Matt Hancock, the Health Secretary
Testing potential vaccines on humans
Work on a vaccine developed by clinical teams at the University of Oxford and the Institute of Vaccines at the University of Oxford began in January.
Studies are now planned in Oxford and Southampton with up to 510 healthy volunteers aged 18 to 55, and three more groups are likely to be added.
In addition to the British, human studies are also conducted by the United States and China. Professor Andrew Pollard, research lead researcher and professor at Oxford University, said they are working with scientists around the world to find a vaccine for Covid-19.
Professor Pollard said that “millions of doses” can be ready for fall if “nothing bad happens in this complex clinical trial process.”
“But to reach a large scale, huge technical efforts are needed, and I think that this is unlikely to happen before the end of this year,”Professor Pollard
Once the vaccine is ready for use in Britain, according to Pollard, the government will decide which groups will receive it first. But, he added that first of all it will be risk groups, in particular elderly people
Meanwhile, researchers from Imperial have developed a sample of the drug that, when injected, will deliver muscle cell genetic instructions to create the SARS-CoV-2 protein. This should trigger an immune response and create immunity to the virus.
A team led by Professor Robin Shattock of the Infectious Diseases Department has been testing the drug in animals since early February.
Clinical trials are expected to begin in June, and the team will look for healthy adults to test the vaccine. According to the researchers, the results can be obtained as early as September. But the recruitment of volunteers has not yet been opened.
Professor Pollard believes that measures to curb the spread of Covid-19 may interfere with the vaccine development process, since a limited number of cases can slow the rate at which the vaccine can be tested.
Along with developing vaccines, doctors are trying to use drugs for viruses like Ebola, malaria and HIV. The initial results are positive, but until complete clinical trials are completed, doctors cannot be sure that the drugs are effective.
It was also reported that GSK and Sanofi have teamed up to develop a drug against coronavirus and plan to develop a vaccine for testing by the end of 2020.