Oxford’s Covid-19 vaccine trial has 50% chance of success: Project leader
The University of Oxford’s Covid-19 vaccine trial has only a 50% chance of success as the coronavirus seems to be fading rapidly in Britain, the professor co-leading the development of the vaccine has said.
Oxford’s Jenner Institute has tied up with biopharma major AstraZeneca Plc to produce the vaccine on a mass scale if the results are successful.
The experimental vaccine, known as ChAdOx1 nCoV-19, is one of the front-runners in the global race to provide protection against the new coronavirus causing the coronavirus pandemic.
The upcoming trial, involving 10,000 volunteers, threatened to return “no result” due to low transmission of Covid-19 in the community, Adrian Hill, director of the Jenner Institute, said.
“It’s a race against the virus disappearing, and against time. At the moment, there’s a 50% chance that we get no result at all,” Hill said while speaking to the British newspaper, the Telegraph.
Hill’s team began early-stage human trials of the vaccine in April, making it one of a handful to have reached that milestone.
Earlier this week, the developers of the vaccine had described their efforts as progressing “very well”, moving to the next phase after completing 1,000 immunisations by its candidate-vaccine on healthy human adults.
The next phase, the second in the typical three phases of trials that a vaccine goes through, involves enrolling up to 10,260 adults and children to assess the immune response to the vaccine in people of different ages and assess if there is a variation.
The Oxford study is merging Phases II and III for speedier development. Phase III involves assessing how the vaccine works in a large number of people over the age of 18, and how well it prevents people from becoming infected and unwell with Covid-19.
Adult participants in both the Phase II and Phase III groups will be randomised to receive one or two doses of either the ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 vaccine or a licensed vaccine (MenACWY) that will be used as a “control” for comparison.
The experts said ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 is made from a virus (ChAdOx1), which is a weakened version of a common cold virus (adenovirus) that causes infections in chimpanzees, that has been genetically changed so that it is impossible for it to replicate in humans.
Results of the animal trials of the vaccine on pre-print server bioRxiv had said that while the vaccine seemed to protect the monkeys from developing pneumonia, one of the conditions brought about by Covid-19 in people, it does not appear to stop them from being infected, nor prevent them from being transmitters.
(With agency inputs)