LONDON – A closely watched COVID-19 vaccine will be priced to access it as widely as possible, if it proves successful, and will be widely made to keep costs low and supply them, the professor said from Oxford University. leading his development.
Adrian Hill, director of the Jenner Institute in Oxford, who worked with the drug manufacturer AstraZeneca to develop the vaccine, said that from the outset, broad distribution and low costs were central to the project.
“This is not going to be an expensive vaccine,” Hill told Reuters in an interview. “It will be a single-dose vaccine. It will be made for worldwide delivery and it will be made in many different locations. That was always our plan.”
The experimental vaccine, known as ChAdOx1 nCoV-19, is one of the leaders in the global race to protect against the new coronavirus causing the COVID-19 pandemic.
Preliminary data from a small trial of the experimental vaccine in six monkeys showed that some single shot animals developed antibodies to the virus within 14 days and all antibodies developed protective antibodies within 28 days.
When the monkeys were exposed to the new coronavirus, the vaccine seemed to prevent damage to the lungs and prevent the virus from making copies of itself there, although it still actively replicated in the nose.
Hill said the data from the animal studies were “encouraging, of course,” and reinforced his team’s high confidence that the ongoing human trials with the inclusion will also yield positive results. The first signs of whether and how well it works may come in July or August.
Hill’s team began early human trials of the vaccine in April, making it one of the few to reach that milestone.
Hill said that as of this week, more than 1,000 people have been dosed into the trial – about half received the experimental vaccine and the other half served as a control group.
When asked about the progress of the human trials, Hill said that he and his team ‘are not going to comment on running’, but added: ‘You can conclude that if the trial is still running – as it is certain – it would mean that no major problems. ‘
Nearly 4.5 million people have been reported to be infected by the new coronavirus worldwide, and more than 301,000 have died, according to a Reuters report.
Health and disease experts say a vaccine that protects people against the new coronavirus can help end the pandemic, but finding a vaccine that works and produces enough doses is a huge challenge.
The ChAdOx vaccine, a type known as a recombinant viral vector vaccine, uses an attenuated version of the common cold virus enriched with proteins of the new coronavirus to generate a response from the body’s immune system.
Other vaccines in human trials include those from Moderna Inc, Pfizer Inc and BioNTech SE and CanSino Biologics Inc. in China.
Hill told Reuters that the ChAdOx1 project has at least seven production sites around the world. These include the Serum Institute in India and sites in Europe and China.
Hill has said that up to a million doses of the shot are already being made and will be available by September, even before trials fully prove it works.
“The ambition is shared to get a cheap, very, very comprehensive vaccine as soon as possible,” said Hill. “And one of the reasons we chose Astrazeneca was because they shared that ambition and they were convinced they could deliver and scale.”