Cookies on this website
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Continue' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

A vaccine candidate for COVID-19 has been identified by researchers from the Oxford Vaccine Group and Oxford's Jenner Institute.

COVID-19 is a disease caused by the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). SARS-CoV-2 was first detected in the city of Wuhan, China, in December 2019, after a cluster of patients with pneumonia of unknown cause were reported to the World Health Organization (WHO). The outbreak was declared a public health emergency of international concern on 30th January 2020, and the disease caused by SARS-CoV-2 was officially named COVID-19 on 11th February 2020. After assessing the outbreak and following transmission of the virus in many other countries worldwide, on 11th March 2020 the WHO declared COVID-19 a pandemic. This means that the disease has spread worldwide, and it is the first time that a coronavirus has led to a pandemic.

Scientists around the world are working hard to develop a vaccine to prevent COVID-19, but there is a lot to be done. A team in Oxford led by Prof. Sarah Gilbert, Prof. Andrew Pollard, Prof. Teresa Lambe, Dr Sandy Douglas and Prof. Adrian Hill started work designing a vaccine on Saturday 10th January 2020. The current status is that they have identified a vaccine candidate and are working towards the first clinical testing phase.

A chimpanzee adenovirus vaccine vector (ChAdOx1), developed at Oxford’s Jenner Institute, was chosen as the most suitable vaccine technology for a SARS-CoV-2 vaccine as it can generate a strong immune response from one dose and it is not a replicating virus, so it cannot cause an ongoing infection in the vaccinated individual. This also makes it safer to give to children, the elderly and anyone with a pre-existing condition such as diabetes. Chimpanzee adenoviral vectors are a very well-studied vaccine type, having been used safely in thousands of subjects, from 1 week to 90 years of age, in vaccines targeting over 10 different diseases. 

Coronaviruses have club-shaped spikes on their outer coats. Immune responses from other coronavirus studies suggest that these are a good target for a vaccine. The Oxford vaccine contains the genetic sequence of this surface spike protein inside the ChAdOx1 construct. After vaccination, the surface spike protein of the coronavirus is produced, which primes the immune system to attack the coronavirus if it later infects the body. Prof. Gilbert and team have previously developed a vaccine for another human coronavirus disease, which is Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), and this has shown promise in early clinical trials.

At the same time as preparing for and conducting the first clinical trial, production of the vaccine is being scaled up ready for larger trials, and potentially, future deployment.

 

Researchers at Oxford University are working with great care, and due haste, in developing a new vaccine for coronavirus. Production is underway and we are recruiting for a clinical trial. If proven effective, a safe coronavirus vaccine could provide an exit strategy for the pandemic and save lives. While we understand the interest, we ask that the media do not continue to contact researchers while this critical work is underway so that they can focus on these efforts. We will issue press releases in due course.

Thank you for your interest in our study. We received a high volume of applications and are not accepting any more at this moment. Please do keep checking back here for future COVID-19 vaccine studies: https://covid19vaccinetrial.co.uk/

 

Funding for Oxford’s COVID-19 research requires unprecedented speed, scope and ambition. If you would like to support this work, please make a gift  >>

Similar stories

Oxford University extends COVID-19 vaccine study to children

COVID-19 Research

The University of Oxford, together with three partner sites in London, Southampton and Bristol, is to launch the first study to assess the safety and immune responses in children and young adults of the ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 coronavirus vaccine.

World Health Organization experts provide guidance on use of the Oxford vaccine

COVID-19 Research

WHO SAGE says Oxford's coronavirus vaccine is safe and likely to be efficacious in older adults, and recommends its use in this age group.

Oxford leads first trial investigating dosing with alternating vaccines

COVID-19 Research

The Oxford Vaccine Group is to lead the first trial to explore alternating different COVID-19 vaccines, to explore the potential for flexibility in delivery and look for clues as to how to increase the breadth of protection against new virus strains.

Oxford University vaccine developer joins day of vaccinations at the Kassam Stadium

COVID-19

Today, Andrew Pollard, Professor of Pediatric Infection and Immunity at the University of Oxford, and chief investigator of the trials of the ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 coronavirus vaccine, volunteered his time to help deliver live-saving Covid vaccinations at the newly opened NHS Vaccine Centre at the Kassam Stadium, Oxford.

Oxford vaccine researchers talk research and home-schooling on ITV's This Morning

COVID-19 Public Engagement

Professor Katie Ewer (The Jenner Institute) and Dr Maheshi Ramasamy (Oxford Vaccine Group) appeared on ITV's This Morning on Wednesday 6 January to talk about their work developing the ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 coronavirus vaccine, all while juggling the demands of young families and home-schooling.