Coronavirus vaccine being tested at Oxford Uni left monkeys ‘virus free in one month’ – The Sun

A POTENTIAL coronavirus vaccine from Oxford University has kept monkeys immune from the deadly virus for a month. 

The promising results comes after top Government experts warned a vaccine might be the only way out of the crisis.

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Last month six rhesus macaque monkeys at a testing facility in the US were injected with a single dose of the vaccine developed at Oxford University, according to The New York Times.

All of the monkeys were then exposed to COVID-19, which had made other monkeys without the vaccine sick.

Four weeks later, all six monkeys who had been injected with the vaccine showed no signs of coronavirus.

Lead researcher Dr Vincent Munster said: "The rhesus macaque is pretty much the closest thing we have to humans."

Around 100 potential COVID-19 vaccine projects are underway around the world, as scientists race to find a vaccine.

At least five of these are in preliminary testing – what is known as phase 1 human trials.

If the scientists find a successful vaccine at least a few million doses could be pumped out by manufacturers by September.

Professor Sarah Gilbert is leading the Oxford trials for vaccine, has said she is 80 per cent confident in producing a working virus.

A Chinese company, SinoVac, has also had success inoculating rhesus macaques, and is beginning trials with 144 human participants.

Elsewhere in Europe, Germany's Leukocare, Italy's ReiThera and Belgium's Univercells are working together on another potential vaccine, and will be starting trials in the next few months.

Normally, trials for a vaccine can take years to even get to phase 1 trials, but Governments around the world are investing huge amounts of money to speed up the process. 

Chief scientific adviser to the Government Sir Patrick Vallance has warned that people needed to be "realistic" about finding a vaccine.

He said: "Each single project does not have a high probability of success.

"Though everyone goes out with great enthusiasm, it's never the case that you've got a vaccine you're sure is going to work."

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Dr Emilio Emini, director of the vaccine program at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which is providing financial support to lots of different project said: "It is a very, very fast clinical program."

Dr Emini said it was important lots of trials of different vaccines happened at the same time because one vaccine may not work for everyone.

Some may work more effectively for different groups of people, potentially depending on factors like age.

He said having multiple vaccines would also avoid stalling when it came to manufacturing.

According to Dr Emini, even if the Oxford trial failed, it would help advance other projects around the world.

"This big UK study is actually going to translate to learning a lot about some of the others as well."

ReiThera's Chief technology officer Stefano Colloca said the cooperation of three companies would allow production to be scaled up faster.

He told Reuters: "We'll begin the trials in July. We have to add to the challenge of developing a safe vaccine for COVID-19 the important need to guarantee the production of millions of doses in record time."


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