Pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca has today agreed to mass-produce a COVID-19 vaccine developed by Oxford University scientists.
Human trials of & # 39; experimental jab – called ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 – began last week and the first results are expected in mid-June.
If proven to protect against the deadly virus, the deal will give the UK access to the vaccine & # 39; as early as possible & # 39 ;, the university said today.
Details of & # 39; agreement – described by Health Secretary Matt Hancock as & # 39; very welcome news & # 39; – will be set for the coming weeks.
Both partners today said the venture was not-for-profit and only the costs of production and distribution are covered.
Developing vaccinations can take up to a decade and scientists have said finding an effective job within 18 months & # 39; unusual & # 39; would be.
But researchers around the world are losing track of the goal, with more than 100 candidates in development and some already tested on humans.
Researchers at Imperial College London are planning to test another experimental jab this summer, which doesn't work a bit differently.
The University of Oxford vaccine is called ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 and is made from a weakened version of a just cold virus
WHAT IS THE OXFORD VACCINE AND WHO IS A CHILD?
The vaccine is called ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 and is made from a weakened version of a common cold virus (adenovirus) of chimpanzees that has not been genetically altered, making it impossible to grow it in humans.
Clinical teams at the Jenner Institute of Oxford University and Oxford Vaccine Group began developing the ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 vaccine in January.
The team has gone through stages of vaccine development that usually last five years in just four months.
They were a step ahead of other groups because they already had a basic vaccine for similar coronaviruses.
The intellectual property rights to his vaccine are owned by & # 39; the University of Oxford and a spin-out company named Vaccitech.
The first part of the trial will involve 510 health volunteers between the ages of 18 and 55.
Then the trial will move into older age groups, looking at the safety and immune response to the vaccine.
Half of all trial volunteers will receive the new coronavirus vaccine and the other half will get a vaccine licensed to protect against meningitis. Volunteers will not know what they will be given.
Speaking on Today's BBC Radio 4 program, Professor Sir John Bell, of & # 39; the University of Oxford, said he hoped that some results from a human trial of the vaccine against & # 39; to be available in mid-June.
He told Today that the challenge now is to be able to produce at scale once it has been approved by the regulators.
Sir John added: & # 39; We also want to make sure the rest of & # 39; The world is prepared to scale this vaccine so that it reaches populations in developing countries, for example, where the need is very high.
& # 39; We really need a partner to do that and that partner does a great job in the UK, because & # 39; our production capacity in the UK for vaccines is not where it should be, and so we will work with AstraZeneca to improve that quickly. & # 39;
It is the first such partnership that has been formed since the government launched the Taskforce vaccines two weeks ago to help find a new coronavirus vaccine.
Both partners have agreed to operate on a & # 39; non-profit basis for the duration of & # 39; e pandemic, the university said, with only the costs of production and distribution being covered.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said it & # 39; s very welcome news & # 39; was that Oxford University reached an agreement with AstraZeneca to scale up its vaccine for coronavirus.
He tweeted: & # 39; The Oxford vaccine is one of & # 39; most advanced in the world. Bringing together the best British science and the best of British affairs will give us the best possible shot at a vaccine.
& # 39; The science is uncertain, and no vaccine can work, but this deal gives the UK the best chance we can of a breakthrough that can defeat this horrible virus. I send best wishes for happiness to all involved – for the sake of & # 39; nation and indeed the whole world. & # 39;
The science behind the Oxford jab attempt hinges on recreating the & # 39; e & # 39; spike & # 39; proteins that & # 39; t over the outer half of & # 39; are COVID-19 viruses
It will contain a genetically engineered virus to resemble the coronavirus, but may not cause infection in a person.
This virus is a type called an adenovirus, the same as that which causes colds, which is taken from chimpanzees.
If the vaccines can successfully mimic the spikes in a person's bloodstream, and stimulate the immune system to make special antibodies to attack it, then this can train the body to destroy the true coronavirus if they are in the & # 39; # 39; be infected in the future.
The same process is thought to happen to people who don't catch COVID-19 for real, but this is much more dangerous – a vaccine will have the same endpoint, but without causing disease in the process.
It comes after the largest vaccine maker in the world just warned that no coronavirus jab is ready to be produced on a mass scale until late next year.
Emma Walmsley, chief executive of Brentford-based GlaxoSmithKline, said millions of doses will not be produced until the second half of 2021, & # 39; if things go well & # 39 ;.
In a separate pledge development, major drug giant Pfizer announced yesterday that it may have a coronavirus vaccine by the fall.
The US-based company has already started mass production doses and aims to & # 39; one hundred million doses & # 39; ready to have at the end of the year.
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