The Sun : How will the Oxford Covid-19 trial work?

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OXFORD University is trialling a vaccine which it hopes will be made and stockpiled this summer.

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The Government has agreed to buy 100million doses and yesterday pledged a further £65.5million of funding towards its development.

A volunteer is injected with either an experimental COVID-19 vaccine or a comparison shot as part of the first human trials at Oxford University
A volunteer is injected with either an experimental COVID-19 vaccine or a comparison shot as part of the first human trials at Oxford University
AP:Associated Press

What is the Oxford Covid-19 trial? 

A University of Oxford team is currently testing a vaccine candidate in humans, while another group from Imperial College London are expected to start human trials next month.

If Oxford's Covid-19 vaccine candidate proves successful, then up to 30 million doses for the UK could be available by September, the Government has said.

A second potential British vaccine, being developed at Imperial College London, will receive £18.5 million.

How does the study work?

Researchers at the Oxford Vaccine Group began testing the vaccine candidate ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 in humans on April 24 to see whether it can protect healthy people from Covid-19.

The programme will allow researchers to assess the safety of the candidate, and its ability to generate an immune response.

Up to 1,102 participants have been recruited across multiple study sites in Oxford, Southampton, London and Bristol.

The volunteers have been randomly allocated to receive either the ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 vaccine or a licensed meningitis vaccine that will be used as a control for comparison.

A separate small group of 10 volunteers were set to get two doses of the candidate four weeks apart, the first administered at the start of the trial.

The dose used in the trial was chosen based on previous experiences with other ChAdOx1 based vaccines.

Participants will not know whether they have received the Covid-19 vaccine or the control vaccine until the end of the trial.

On April 24, the first two participants were vaccinated, one with the ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 vaccine and one with the control vaccine.

On day three, six more volunteers were vaccinated, half with the Covid-19 vaccine and three with the control vaccine.

On the fifth day, researchers began vaccinating larger numbers of participants.

Who is taking part? 

Volunteers must be aged 18-55, and cannot have tested positive for Covid-19.

They must also be in good health, not be pregnant or breastfeeding, and must not have previously taken part in a trial with an adenoviral vaccine or received any other coronavirus vaccines.

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When will the results be available?

The statisticians will compare the number of infections in the control group with the number of infections in the vaccinated group.

Therefore, it is necessary for a small number of study participants to develop Covid-19.

How quickly researchers reach the numbers required depends on the levels of virus transmission in the community.

If transmission remains high, enough data may be available in a couple of months but if transmission levels drop, this could take up to six months.



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