An Oxford University research team has announced that a coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine could be available by the autumn.
The vaccine is currently being developed by the university’s Jenner Institute and biopharmaceutical company AstraZeneca.
In May, the university announced the start of a phase II/III UK trial of a vaccine candidate, with about 10,000 adult volunteers taking part in the trial.
Last week, the British Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) approved the start of the vaccine’s Phase III trials, after studies showed it had sufficient effectiveness and safety.
The vaccine candidate uses a weakened version of a common cold-causing virus to deliver the gene for a coronavirus into human cells. AstraZeneca will deliver 400,000 doses of the vaccine to European nations by the end of 2020.
As of Sunday, the coronavirus has affected over seven million people globally, resulting in 430,399 deaths.
Dr Ahmed Salman, Professor of Immunology and one of the Oxford University research team, said the team started work on manufacturing the vaccine after the virus’ genetic composition was deciphered.
In a video call with MBC Masr on Saturday evening, he noted that the vaccine is safe to use. He explained that injecting humans with the anti-coronavirus vaccine helps the immune system form a memory and combat the virus in the event of infection.
Salman added that 90% of the body’s cells, especially those in the respiratory system and intestines, have a base of 11 genes on which to receive the virus.
He pointed out that the virus is difficult to deal with once it penetrates cells, with antibodies only able to deal with the virus before it reaches the cells.
Salman concluded that the vaccine provides 100% immunity against the coronavirs, and helped prevent pneumonitis among monkeys during clinical trials.