British scientists to test vaccine on kids, elderly

Published: May 23, 2020, 11:40 IST | Agencies | London

Oxford Univ scientists, testing an experimental vaccine against COVID-19, aim to immunise over 10,000 people to determine if the shot works

COVID-19 patients George Gilbert, 85, and his wife Domneva, 84, hold hands during a short visit as they are being treated in different areas as part of the TACTIC-R trial, in Cambridge. Pic /AFP
COVID-19 patients George Gilbert, 85, and his wife Domneva, 84, hold hands during a short visit as they are being treated in different areas as part of the TACTIC-R trial, in Cambridge. Pic /AFP

British researchers testing an experimental vaccine against the new Coronavirus are moving into advanced studies and aim to immunise over 10,000 people to determine if the shot works. Last month, Oxford University scientists began immunising over 1,000 volunteers with their vaccine candidate in a preliminary trial designed to test the shot's safety. On Friday, the scientists announced they now aim to vaccinate 10,260 people across Britain, including older people and children.

"The clinical studies are progressing very well and we are now initiating studies to evaluate how well the vaccine induces immune responses in older adults and to test whether it can provide protection in the wider population," said Andrew Pollard, head of the Oxford Vaccine Group. About a dozen different experimental vaccines are in early stages of human testing or poised to start, mostly in China, the US and Europe.

Scientists have never created vaccines from scratch this fast and it's far from clear that any of the candidates will ultimately prove safe and effective.

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