Oxford University and British pharmaceutical firm AstraZeneca Plc have started hiring over 10,000 subjects for advanced human studies of coronavirus vaccines they are developing to treat COVID-19 patients.
Part of these trials will be undertaken on children from 5 to 12 years of age as well as adults in the age group of 56 and older, according to a statement cited by Bloomberg. The other, larger stage will test the drug's effectiveness in volunteer subjects 18 years and older. Companies across the world are pacing up to develop vaccines to fight COVID-19 pandemic that has sequestered populations and battered economies.
AstraZeneca's efforts got a boost to get its vaccine tested and ready for use when the US promised around $1.2 billion towards the drug development on Thursday. Oxford University, on the other hand, has reportedly begun advanced human trials of its vaccine. The university said on Friday that its researchers have started hiring adults and children to conduct advanced human trials of the vaccine. The said trials will include up to 10,260 volunteers across the United Kingdom, the news agency reported.
COVID-19 trials conducted so far
The initial phase of trials started in April this year with around 1,000 trials. The first trial's results were concluded and are being followed up presently. The advanced trial phase will comprise stage 2 and 3 trials of the COVID-19 vaccine. In Phase 2, the range of subject groups is being broadened, with the vaccine being administered in a small group of older adults and children aged between 5-12 and 56-69 years, as well as those above the age of 70.
This trial stage will help researchers comprehend how the vaccine generates an immune response in bodies of various age groups. Stage 3 of the trials will include studying the vaccine's performance in bodies of a large count of adults, aged 18 years and above. This will help scientists fathom how the vaccine will help in preventing coronavirus infection and its complications.
COVID-19 advanced trial stages
In order to carry out the advanced trials, the adult candidates in both stage 2 and 3 of the trials will be administered one or two doses of the ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 or another licenced drug called the MenACWY, which will be given in the control group. "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," Andrew Pollard, head of the Oxford Vaccine Group, said in a statement cited by the news agency.
The researchers will study the number of infections between the two groups to check the efficacy of the vaccine as well as see if the newly developed drug made any difference in infection or its complications. Countries across the world are pinning their hopes on the Oxford University's vaccine with pharma behemoths like AstraZeneca already aboard for the expeditious production of the vaccine.