On Thursday (April 23), Oxford University in the UK began trials of a potential coronavirus vaccine on human volunteers.
A day before on Wednesday, regulators in Germany also approved the first trials in the country for a vaccine developed by global pharmaceutical giants BioNtech and Pfizer.
The human trials in the UK and Germany
In the UK, the government has announced financial support worth GBP 20 million to the project at Oxford, as well as GBP 22.5 million for another project at the Imperial College London.
UK’s Health Secretary Matt Hancock, who has recovered from Covid-19 himself, said that the government was “throwing everything” at the vaccine projects.
Oxford scientists have said that the Covid-19 jab they are developing has an 80 per cent chance of success, Sky News reported.
The human volunteers have to be in good health and between ages 18-55. They have been offered up to GBP 625, the report said.
Called ChAdOx1 nCoV-19, the potential Oxford vaccine is prepared from a harmless virus found in chimpanzees — which has been genetically engineered to carry a part of the novel coronavirus.
While the World Health Organization has estimated a timeline of 12 to 18 months for developing a safe vaccine, the Oxford researchers have said they could produce a million doses of the experimental vaccine by September this year.
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In Germany, the Federal Institute for Vaccines said that a clinical test for a potential vaccine had been approved, and will be developed together by the US-based Pfizer and the German company BioNtech.
The German project in its first stage will have 200 participants between the ages of 18 and 55. In the second stage, those more at risk from the disease will be tested.
The vaccine, called BNT162, will also undergo trials in the US after regulatory approvals for human testing are obtained in that country.
Apart from Germany and the UK, several laboratories around the world are working on developing a coronavirus vaccine, including in China, Australia, the US, and other European countries.
As per a report in The Independent, 86 teams are currently working around the world to develop a vaccine for Covid-19, with some at clinical trial stages.
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