Europe, Latest on coronavirus outbreak

Oxford University calls for COVID-19 vaccine volunteers

510 volunteers must be healthy and age 18-55 for expected 6-month trials

Karim El-Bar  | 30.03.2020 - Update : 30.03.2020
Oxford University calls for COVID-19 vaccine volunteers


Britain’s Oxford University has put out a call for volunteers to test a possible new coronavirus vaccine.

The university said: “We’re working hard to develop a vaccine against Covid-19. Today we’re recruiting individuals to take part in clinical trials. This is a crucial step.

“We need healthy volunteers aged 18-55, to help test its potential effectiveness.”

In a statement, they added: “Our researchers are working with great care, and due haste, to get this vaccine ready to be used in the clinical trial.”

Oxford are calling for 510 volunteers, about half of whom will be vaccinated with a synthetic version of the virus, while the control group gets a placebo.

Volunteers will tell researchers of any side effects or symptoms they might experience during the six-month trial. They may have flu-like symptoms for two weeks after being given the vaccine.

The project is being run by the Jenner Institute and the Oxford Vaccine Group.

Last week, Oxford University announced that three of their COVID-19 projects were among the first to receive a tranche of £20 million ($24.9 million) in government funding.

According to a university statement: “The three projects include work on an effective vaccine, enabling pre-clinical and clinical vaccine trials, as well as supporting researchers to develop manufacturing processes to produce a vaccine at a million-dose scale. Another project will examine how existing treatments could be repurposed to treat coronavirus.”

Health authorities said on Sunday the new U.K.-wide death toll from coronavirus was 1,235 – an increase of 207 deaths in 24 hours.

Data compiled by U.S.-based Johns Hopkins University shows worldwide infections at around 725,000, with nearly 35,000 deaths. More than 156,000 have recovered from infections.

After first appearing in Wuhan, China in December, the virus has spread to 177 countries and regions.

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