Coronavirus vaccine trials to begin in UK next month

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The research team is being led by Prof Sarah Gilbert

Oxford University researchers plan to start human trials of the UK’s first Covid-19 (coronavirus) vaccine next month.

Animal trials on the same vaccine are set to start at the Public Health England (PHE) laboratory at Porton Down near Salisbury next week, reports the Guardian.

The research team is being led by Prof Sarah Gilbert.

The vaccine is an intramuscular injection that reportedly uses harmless, non-replicating virus to get coronavirus DNA into the body.

In normal circumstances, animal trials have to be completed before human trails can begin. However, the process has been accelerated  as similar vaccines worked safely in trials for other diseases. 

“We are conscious that a vaccine is needed as soon as possible and certainly by June–July, when we expect a big peak in mortality,” said Prof Adrian Hill, director of the Jenner Institute at Oxford, as quoted by the Guardian.

“This is not a normal situation. We will follow all standard trial safety requirements, but as soon as we have a vaccine that’s working, we anticipate there will be an accelerated pathway to get it deployed to save lives. The more vaccine we can provide sooner, the better,” he added.

There have so far been 3,269 cases of coronavirus in the UK with 144 deaths as of Friday evening, according to Worldometer.