Viruses have long since been thorns in the flesh of the human race. With new mutations and strains being identified here and there, the importance of understanding the science behind these unseen yet terrible threats has been raised higher than ever by the Covid-19 pandemic. However, like a glimmer of hope in the midst of adversity and uncertainty, scientists in the United Kingdom have announced that on Thursday (April 23), they will begin human trials for a prospective vaccine under development.
According to a recent report by Market Watch, a team of scientists from the prestigious Oxford University located in England have been hard at work, developing a coronavirus vaccine. With the U.K. being one of the most hard-hit by Covid-19, the UK Government is not only putting £20 million (S$35.20 million) in the efforts of the team at Oxford, but is also investing £22.5 million (S$39.59 million) in the efforts of scientists at Imperial College, where another prospective vaccine is being developed.
Consisting of scientists from the university’s Jenner Institute and the Oxford Vaccine Group, the Oxford University project began working on a Covid-19 vaccine in February. By the end of March, the group already began recruiting healthy individuals who fell within the age range of 18 to 55 years old. The group is now set to proceed with clinical trials on Thursday (April 23).
The report stated that Matt Hancock, U.K. Secretary of State for Health and Social Care expressed his enthusiasm over how both the Oxford and Imperial College collaborations have made “rapid progress,” considering that in an ordinary time, reaching human trials this rapidly would “take years.” Mr Hancock also stated that the U.K. would put “everything (it’s) got” in the intense efforts to develop a vaccine.
Aside from this, the Government of the U.K. is set to invest in its manufacturing potentiality to ensure that once a vaccine is successfully developed, it can easily be mass-produced “as soon as humanly possible.”
“We are going to back them to the hilt and give them every resource that they need to get the best possible chance of success as soon as possible,” said Mr. Hancock. “The upside of being the first country in the world to develop a successful vaccine is so huge that I am throwing everything at it.”
In a prior statement, Oxford scientists said that the goal is to produce a million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine by September.
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