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COVID-19 vaccine trial underway

A trial of a potential vaccine for COVID-19 has started this week.

The vaccine has been in development since January 2020 and is based on a chimpanzee adenovirus vector (ChAdOx1) which is a weakened version of the adenovirus that causes the common cold. Previous work has shown how chimpanzee adenoviruses can generate a strong immune response from a single vaccination. The adenovirus has genes added to make the spike proteins that are present on the outer surface of COVID-19. After vaccination, the spiked proteins are produced in the host which primes the body’s immune system to attack the virus if encountered at a later date. The vaccine is non-replicating and does not lead to infection and is suitable for use in adults, children, the elderly and patients with a pre-existing chronic condition such as diabetes.

The current trial will recruit 1112 healthy volunteers (aged 18 to 55 years) who will receive either the test vaccine or a control vaccine but will be blinded to their treatment allocation. Participants will be assessed at eight visits over a period of six months.

While at this stage the results of the trial are unknown, production of the vaccine is being scaled up for larger trials and possible deployment if successful.

Further information can be found on the trial the website (