The Oxford COVID-19 vaccine is 'progressing very well,' according to the lead scientists, who said 10,000 more people would be inoculated

Wikimedia CommonsThe Radcliffe Camera, part of the main library at Oxford University in England.
  • The head of the Oxford Vaccine Group, Andrew Pollard, said on Friday that clinical trials of its coronavirus vaccine candidate were “progressing very well.”
  • More than 1,000 people in the UK been inoculated. In the next phase of the trial, about 10,000 more people will be given the vaccine in May and June, Pollard said.
  • The experimental vaccine was first tested in people on April 23 following promising results from a trial with macaques.
  • The group said it could take two to six months to get results.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

The head of the Oxford Vaccine Group, Andrew Pollard, said on Friday that clinical trials of its coronavirus vaccine candidate were progressing well and that the program would inoculate about 10,000 more people.

“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,” Pollard said in a press release.

The experimental vaccine was first tested in two people on April 23 in Oxford following promising results from a trial involving six macaques in the US in March.

The group said more than 1,000 people in the UK – excluding children and people over 55 – had been given the experimental vaccine. In the next phase of the trial, 10,260 more people, including some children and older adults, will be given the vaccine in May and June, the group said. Participants are asked to keep a diary and regularly submit blood samples.

Oxford vaccine group trialYouTube/University of OxfordThe first human trial of the COVID-19 vaccine candidate from the Oxford Vaccine Group.

The group said that results from that trial could be available in two to six months. Its progress could be hindered if the UK’s coronavirus outbreak slows, because it means fewer people will be exposed naturally to the virus, it said.

The group said that to mitigate this, it was prioritising recruiting volunteers “who have a higher chance of being exposed,” like frontline healthcare workers.

The Oxford Vaccine Group is one of a few elite laboratories and facilities in the race to find a coronavirus vaccine.

OXFORD, ENGLAND - APRIL 29: A general view of a sign outside of the University of Oxford Old Road Campus, which houses the Jenner Institute and is where the first human trials of a coronavirus vaccine developed by researchers at the University of Oxford is taking place in Oxford, England on April 29, 2020. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who returned to Downing Street this week after recovering from Covid-19, said the country needed to continue its lockdown measures to avoid a second spike in infections. (Photo by Getty Images)GettyA sign outside Oxford’s Old Road Campus.

On Monday, the US firm Moderna outlined positive data from a phase-one trial of its vaccine candidate. Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, said on Thursday that he was “cautiously optimistic” about it.

The drug giant Pfizer partnered with BioNTech to begin human trials of its experimental vaccine on May 5. It has not announced results.

In total, about 12 coronavirus vaccines in development around the world are in human trials or about to start them, The Associated Press reported on Friday.

Sarah Gilbert, a professor of vaccinology working on the Oxford vaccine, said on April 11 that the earliest it could be ready was September – but that such a date was very optimistic.

Whether or not the vaccine will be approved, it is already in high demand.

Photo taken on May 18, 2020 shows a logo in front of AstraZeneca's building in Luton, Britain. The Oxford University has confirmed aGettyThe AstraZeneca building in Luton, Britain. AstraZeneca has licensed the vaccine candidate being developed by the Oxford group.

On Thursday, the US government agreed to pay up to $US1.2 billion to secure 300 million doses of the Oxford group’s vaccine.

Last month, the Serum Institute of India, the world’s largest vaccine-maker by number of doses, said it would manufacture as many as 40 million doses.

“The decision – at our own risk and cost – has been solely taken to get a jump-start on manufacturing,” said Adar Poonawalla, the institute’s CEO.

Despite the progress, there are concerns that even if a vaccine is approved, a global rollout will be hampered by a shortage of the glass vials and lids necessary to distribute the doses.

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