Researchers are leaving no stone unturned when it comes to developing a vaccine against COVID-19, the illness caused by the new coronavirus.
And in that global race, scientists from Oxford University are hopeful that a vaccine may be widely available by September. They said human trials are already underway.
The lab has already developed a technology, which was used in previous studies on inoculations for other viruses, including another strain of coronavirus similar to COVID-19, gave it a head start.
Sarah Gilbert, Professor of Vaccinology at Oxford University, said, “Well personally, I have a high degree of confidence about this vaccine because it’s technology that I’ve used before.”
She is the co-founder of Vaccitech, one of the oldest and most renowned vaccine research centers in the world. Gilbert specializes in the development of vaccines against influenza and emerging viral pathogens.
The researchers explained that the vaccine is modified by taking the genetic material of the coronavirus and injecting it into a common cold virus, which has been neutralized so it cannot spread in people.
The engineered virus will mimic the novel coronavirus, triggering the immune system to fight off the invader and providing protection against the infection.
It has been found that the experimental vaccine has reportedly worked among rhesus monkeys that were exposed to COVID-19.
The researchers are conducting a human trial, which includes 1,100 participants. They divided them into two groups, with one receiving the vaccine, while another a placebo.
Trial volunteer and Oxford researcher Dr. Elisa Granato said, “It feels like finally, I am able to do something. This was a way for me to contribute to the cause.”
The Serum Institute of India will start producing millions of the experimental vaccines for Oxford human trials by next month. CEO of Serum Institute of India, Adar Poonawalla, said the institute would produce five million vials of the vaccine a month, for six months, to get ahead of the demand.