Oxford COVID-19 Vaccine to Begin Next Phases of Human Trial

The University of Oxford's next phases of its vaccine trial will happen in May and June across different sites in the U.K.
Fabienne Lang

Researchers linked to the University of Oxford's COVID-19 vaccine are hoping to recruit over 10,000 healthy participants for the imminent next phases of their human clinical trials. 

Phase II of the trial will focus on expanding the age range of the participants, and Phase III will study how the vaccine works on a large number of people over the age of 18. 

The Oxford vaccine is one of four worldwide that are currently being worked on in order to find a solution against COVID-19. 


The next two phases

Phase I trial began in April and immunized over 1,000 healthy adult participants, of which follow-ups are still ongoing. 

The next study, Phase II, will involve 10,260 adults and children aged between 5 and over 70 years old, in order to gain a better understanding of how the vaccine functions on a broad range of ages. Researchers will closely be assessing the immune response to the vaccine on these volunteers. 

In Phase III, the researchers will assess the response of the vaccine in a large group of people over the age of 18. This will be the group that assesses how well the vaccine functions to prevent people from catching COVID-19. 

Adult participants in both phases will be randomized to receive either one or two doses of the ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 vaccine (Oxford's one) or a licensed vaccine (MenACWY) that will be used as a ‘control’ for comparison.

ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 is made from a weakened version of a common cold virus (adenovirus) that causes infections in chimpanzees and has been genetically modified not to infect humans. 

Professor Andrew Pollard, head of the Oxford Vaccine Group, said "The clinical studies are progressing very well and we are now initiating studies to evaluate how well the vaccine induces immune responses in older adults and to test whether it can provide protection in the wider population."

The Oxford team is working hand in hand with biopharmaceuticals, AstraZeneca, to develop the vaccine, and the pharma's Executive Vice President Mene Pangalos said "We are so proud to be collaborating with the University of Oxford to accelerate the development and globalization of this potential new vaccine against COVID-19 infection."

The hope of these next trial phases will be to determine how well the vaccine protects people over a broad range of ages.

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