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Oxford University's COVID-19 vaccine begins Phase 3 trial in the US

Published on 01/09/20 at 12:28pm
Photo by Daniel Paquet from Regina, Canada

AstraZeneca has started a Phase 3 trial of its experimental coronavirus vaccines in the US, making it the third company to start late-stage trials of a vaccine. 

The company has been developing the vaccine in partnership with Oxford University, and has said it is recruiting up to 30,000 adults over the age of 18 across a broad spectrum of racial, ethnic and geographic groups who are healthy or have steady underlying conditions. 

The trial will see participants receive either two doses of the vaccine or a placebo. The study will not be limited to America, with the trials also set to be conducted in Britain, Brazil and South Africa with more research taking place in Japan and Russia. AstraZeneca says it wants to enroll over 50,000 volunteers across the world.

The US part of the study will be funded by the National Institutes of Health and Biomedical Advanced Development Authority and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

Dr Francis Collins, Director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), said in a statement: “NIH is committed to supporting several Phase 3 vaccine trials to increase the odds that one or more will be effective in preventing COVID-19 and put us on the road to recovery from this devastating pandemic. We also know that preventing this disease could require multiple vaccines and we're investing in those that we believe have the greatest potential for success.”

The vaccine entering the trial is called AZD1222, and combines a weakened version of a common cold virus that infects chimpanzees and a protein from the virus that causes COVID-19 to induce an immune response. 

Conor Kavanagh

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