Oxford University seeking more than 10,000 volunteers for advanced trials of experimental coronavirus vaccine

A medical worker administers a test for a COVID-19 at a facility in Camden, N.J.
A medical worker administers a test for a COVID-19 at a facility in Camden, N.J.(Matt Rourke/AP)

Oxford University has put out a call for more than 10,000 volunteers willing to be immunized with its experimental coronavirus vaccine to determine whether it could be a viable solution for the sweeping global pandemic.
Scientists at the historic university began vaccinating the first round of 1,000 healthy volunteers in April as part the initial phase of clinical trials. On Friday, Oxford revealed researchers are prepared to move into more advanced studies, which requires 10,260 adult and children participants from around the United Kingdom.
The trial vaccine, called AZD1222, was initially tested on six macaque monkeys in the United States before delivering promising results on the first two humans in Oxford back on April 23.
“The clinical studies are progressing very well,” Professor Andrew Pollard, head of the Oxford Vaccine Group, said in a press release.

“We are now initiating studies to evaluate how well the vaccine induces immune response in older adults, and to test whether it can provide protection to the wider population.”

Scientists hope to begin their second wave of test immunizations on thousands of new people, including the elderly, in May and June, according to the release. Participants will be required to submit regular blood samples as well as keep a diary of symptoms and changes in health.

Those with a “higher chance of being exposed," like front line healthcare workers, will be prioritized during the volunteer selection process.

The potential treatment was developed from a weakened strain of the common cold that causes infections in chimpanzees but has been genetically altered so it is impossible to replication within humans. Researchers said the harmless disease is then used to spread a “Spike protein,” which prevents COVID-19 from entering human cells.

Pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca revealed earlier this week it booked orders for at least 400 million doses of the vaccine.

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