AZ and Oxford University partner to develop coronavirus vaccine

By Ben Hargreaves

- Last updated on GMT

(Image: Getty/Dan Meshkov)
(Image: Getty/Dan Meshkov)

Related tags Astrazeneca University of Oxford Coronavirus COVID-19

Under the agreement, AZ will develop, manufacture and distribute the vaccine that has already begun Phase I trials.

Earlier this month​, the University of Oxford was looking to partners and seeking to ensure that it could build capacity to manufacture sufficient doses of its potential COVID-19 vaccine. This led to the creation of an ‘alliance’ to support the manufacture of the vaccine candidate, known as ChAdOx1 nCoV-19.

Now, the potential vaccine has been given a further boost after AstraZeneca announced today that it would collaborate with the university to accelerate its development.

This sees AZ takeover responsibility for further development, worldwide manufacture and distribution of the potential vaccine.

Pascal Soriot, CEO of AstraZeneca, said: “This collaboration brings together the University of Oxford’s world-class expertise in vaccinology and AstraZeneca’s global development, manufacturing and distribution capabilities.

“Our hope is that, by joining forces, we can accelerate the globalization of a vaccine to combat the virus and protect people from the deadliest pandemic in a generation.”

The vaccine has already been administered to the first patient, as part of a Phase I clinical trial that began last week. The data from the trial is expected to be available next month.

Beyond this, late-stage trials are expected to begin by the middle of this year.

Previously, lead researcher, Sarah Gilbert, said that in a best-case scenario the readouts from Phase III trials may be available in fall.

As of today, the organizations stated that 320 people have been vaccinated and that the vaccine is, so far, well tolerated beyond temporary symptoms, such as a temperature and flu-like symptoms.

The vaccine itself is delivered via a viral vector and contains the genetic material of SARS-CoV-2 spike protein. The vaccine was chosen as it creates a strong immune response from a single dose and is not replicating, therefore cannot create an infection in the vaccinated individual, the university stated.

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