Researchers at the University of Oxford (United Kingdom) began human tests last Thursday to find a vaccine that fights COVID-19, which they estimate could be ready in September.
As reported by the prestigious university centre, hundreds of citizens volunteered to be part of the study, which began last Thursday, April 23 by administering the first dose to a healthy person. Another individual will be given a meningitis vaccine, which is used in the clinical trial as a comparison method.
Scientists at the Oxford Vaccine Group expected Monday to increase the number of people involved. Experts agree that the only way for the large number of countries that have implemented quarantine measures to return to full normality is to find a vaccine against the new coronavirus and that can be mass-produced.
The Oxford research team’s calculations are to have at least a million doses of the vaccine in September, while Imperial College London hopes to do the same with another one it studies later this year.
The British Government has made £ 20 million available to the Oxford team and a further £ 22 million for the Imperial College project.
In total, it is expected that in the clinical trial led by Oxford there will be 1,102 participants in different laboratories in Southampton, London and Bristol.
Lydia Guthrie is one of the volunteers who will be part of the trial. “I think when I saw the ad looking for participants it seemed like a small contribution I could make to this team of more than 500 participants, scientists and doctors working together to develop a vaccine,” she told the BBC.
She added that she was aware of the potential risk she assumes, and that specialists have detailed it, but that she is hopeful that the trial would yield results.
British Government Medical Adviser Chris Whitty has said the prospect of the work at Oxford University translating into an effective and safe vaccine that can be distributed this year is “incredibly small.”
Whitty further added that it would be “completely illusory” to think that the restrictions will be lifted in a few days, as the rate of deaths and contagious remains high in the United Kingdom.