As of this morning – Wednesday April 22 – the current recorded case count for COVID-19 (coronavirus) in the UK has hit 129,044 with 17,337 deaths.
An experimental coronavirus vaccine being developed by Oxford University researchers is to be tested in people from tomorrow (Thursday), Health Secretary Matt Hancock has confirmed.
The project has received £20 million from the government to support development of the vaccine, called ChAdOx1 nCoV-19.
The trial will provide information on the safety aspects of the vaccine, as well as its ability to generate an immune response against the virus.
A collaboration between the University’s Jenner Institute and Oxford Vaccine Group clinical teams, the trials recruit up to 510 volunteers, who will receive either the ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 vaccine or a control injection for comparison.
The health secretary also announced that a vaccine project at Imperial College London has been given £22.5 million to help see it through Phase II testing and into Phase III development.
The team has been testing an RNA vaccine candidate in animals since early February.
When injected, the self-amplifying RNA vaccine will deliver genetic instructions to muscle cells to make the ‘spike’ protein on the surface of the coronavirus, which should provoke an immune response and create immunity to COVID-19.
“In the long run, the best way to defeat coronavirus is through a vaccine,” Hancock said at yesterday's press briefing.
“The UK is at the forefront of the global effort…and for all of the efforts around the world, two of the leading vaccine developments are taking place here at home, at Oxford and Imperial.”
WASH YOUR HANDS:
Regularly and thoroughly clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water.
MAINTAIN SOCIAL DISTANCING:
Maintain at least two metres (six feet) distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing.
STAY AT HOME:
Only go outside for food, health reasons or work (but only if you cannot work from home).