The clinical trial for a vaccine for coronavirus conducted by experts at the University of Oxford will soon recruit 2,000 volunteers in Brazil – one of the worst affected countries – after the country’s health regulator approved the trial currently in its Phase II.
The university said on Thursday that the widely-watched work on the vaccine is “progressing quickly”. The UK government and biopharma major AstraZeneca have been gearing up to put in place facilities to produce the vaccine on a mass scale, if the results are encouraging.
The trial’s Phase I/II began in April in the UK to assess safety and immune response in over 1,000 healthy volunteers aged 18 to 55 years across several trial centres in southern England. As the trial moves to Phase III, a larger population is being enrolled consisting of 10,000 participants in the UK with AstraZeneca enrolling 30,000 participants in the US.
The university said that on Tuesday, the Brazilian Health Regulatory Agency approved the inclusion of Brazil in the clinical trials. Brazil is a priority for the study because of the ascendant curve of the virus there.
Andrew Pollard, chief investigator of the Oxford Vaccine Trial at Oxford, said: “We are delighted to be working with the talented team of investigators in Brazil on the Covid-19 vaccine trial, as researchers and scientists around the world collaborate on clinical development work with unprecedented urgency to combat the global threat to human health that is coronavirus.”
The university said it is “advancing fast” on its ongoing response to address the challenges of Covid-19, and is working with AstraZeneca to define next steps on the supply of the vaccine widely to make it accessible around the world in an equitable manner.
The University of Oxford and AstraZeneca announced an agreement on April 30 for the global development and distribution of the University’s potential recombinant adenovirus vaccine aimed at preventing Covid-19 infection from SARS-CoV-2.
The agreement includes a commitment to make the vaccine available on a not-for-profit basis during the pandemic and to ensure broad and equitable access around the world. To date AstraZeneca has concluded agreements for at least 400 million doses and secured total manufacturing capacity for 1bn billion doses of the Oxford vaccine.