A team of researchers at the Oxford University’s Jenner Institute is set to initiate clinical testing of a vaccine candidate for the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV).
The Jenner Institute has entered an agreement with the Italian vaccine manufacturer Advent Srl to produce the first batch of a 2019-nCoV vaccine for clinical testing. The ‘seed stock’ for the vaccine is under production at Oxford University’s Clinical Biomanufacturing Facility and will be transferred to Advent for manufacturing 1000 doses of the vaccine ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 to be used in the first clinical trials.
The Jenner Institute has been conducting research on a vaccine candidate for the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS). The first clinical trial of the vaccine in Oxford showed strong immune responses against MERS after immunisation with a single dose. A second trial of the MERS vaccine is currently underway in Saudi Arabia. Researchers have followed a similar approach in developing the 2019-nCoV vaccine.
The vaccine uses a modified adenovirus that is fitted with genetic code to provide instructions for replicating the Spike protein found on the surface of coronaviruses, thereby enabling the adenovirus to produce the protein after vaccination. Consequently, antibodies to the Spike protein are formed in the host, which protect against coronavirus infection.
Professor Sarah Gilbert of the Jenner Institute said: "By using technology that is known to work well for another coronavirus vaccine we are able to reduce the time taken to prepare for clinical trials."