Experimental coronavirus vaccine shows promise, progresses to advanced trial

UK Oxford vaccine goes to human trials' next phase

UK Oxford vaccine goes to human trials' next phase

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Only a handful of the vaccines in development have advanced to human trials, an indicator of safety and efficacy, and the stage at which most fail.

The same investigational vaccine protected six monkeys from pneumonia caused by the virus.

"It is really quite promising in the sense of that in the phase one study - which is the first step towards the development of a vaccine through its multiple phases ― the vaccine induced what we call neutralizing antibodies, as opposed to just binding antibodies", he said. The MHRA oversees drug trials in the United Kingdom. Phases II and III are now beginning.

Adult participants in the phase two and three groups will be randomised to receive one or two doses of either a vaccine known as ChAdOx1 nCoV-19, or a licensed vaccine (MenACWY) that will be used as a "control" for comparison. Each of the vaccine candidates will enroll 20,000-30,000 candidates for a second phase starting in July and centered on workers and places where the likelihood of exposure is high.

Work began in January on the vaccine, which uses a virus taken from chimpanzees and has been developed by the University of Oxford's Jenner Institute and the Oxford Vaccine Group.

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"For now Covid-19 has made a soft landfall in Africa, and the continent has been spared the high numbers of deaths which have devastated other regions of the world", said Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, WHO regional director for Africa.

But Pollard acknowledged there were still many challenges ahead, including how long it will take to prove the vaccine works - particularly since transmission has dropped significantly in Britain - and any potential manufacturing complications. The UK government, which is also funding the project, has already secured 100 million doses.

"We are scaling up on a conservative basis of about 4 to 5 million doses a month to begin with", Chief Executive Adar Poonawalla told Reuters, adding the company was in discussions with AstraZeneca.

With leaders across the world surveying some of the worst economic destruction since at least World War Two and the deaths of more than 327,000 people, many are scrambling for a vaccine.

Experts involved in the effort say that they are targeting the "Achilles heel" of coronavirus.

As of Friday morning, more than 5.12 million coronavirus cases have been diagnosed worldwide, at least 1,577,785 of which are in the US, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

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