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Coronavirus vaccine trial

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Coronavirus Vacine trial

The first human trial in Europe of a coronavirus vaccine has begun in Oxford.

Two volunteers were injected, the first of more than 800 people recruited for the study. Half will receive the COVID-19 vaccine, and half a control vaccine which protects against meningitis but not coronavirus.

The design of the trial means volunteers will not know which vaccine they are getting, though doctors will.

One of the two who received the jab said he is a scientist and wanted to try to support the scientific process wherever he can.

Coronavirus Vacine trial

The vaccine was developed in under three months by a team at Oxford University that was led by Sarah Gilbert, professor of vaccinology at the Jenner Institute, led the pre-clinical research.

Sarah says she personally has a high degree of confidence in this vaccine but prefers not to put a figure on it, saying simply she is “very optimistic” about its chances.

The vaccine is made from a weakened version of a common cold virus known as an adenovirus from chimpanzees that have been modified so it cannot grow in humans. The Oxford team has already developed a vaccine against Mers, another type of coronavirus, using the same approach and that had promising results in clinical trials.

Felicity Gitonga

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