Oxford University scientists are manufacturing a million doses of a potential COVID-19 vaccine even before its effectiveness has been proven. The shots will be available by September, reported Reuters.
The experimental product is called “ChAdOx1 nCoV-19.” It is a recombinant viral vector vaccine and the Oxford researchers are now recruiting volunteers for Phase 1 human trials.
“We have started at risk manufacturing of this vaccine not just on a smallish scale … but with a network of manufacturers in as many as seven different places around the world,” Adrian Hill, a professor and director of the Jenner Institute at Oxford University, told reporters in an online briefing, according to Reuters.
“The aim is to have at least a million doses by around about September when we also hope to have efficacy (trial) results.”
This “at-risk” manufacturing indicates that the shots will be produced despite the risk of being useless if trials show them to be ineffective.
Hill and his team of researchers also revealed they had plans for safety and mid-stage efficacy trials within weeks. The team would be targeting adults aged between 18 and 55 for these trials.
This group will then be expanded to include older adults, and a final phase trial with around 5,000 volunteers will hopefully run in the late summer.
Although nothing can be guaranteed, the team said they had “a high degree of confidence” in the ChAdOx1 shot’s effectiveness.
“We can never be certain these things are going to work,” one of the team’s members Sarah Gilbert, an Oxford professor of vaccinology, said in the briefing. “My view is that I think this one has a very strong chance of working.”