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AstraZeneca, Oxford University collaborate to develop COVID-19 vaccine

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AstraZeneca has entered into an agreement with Oxford University for the development of a vaccine to prevent COVID-19 disease.

The collaboration will allow to develop and distribute the university’s potential recombinant adenovirus vaccine for the prevention of COVID-19 infection from SARS-CoV-2.

The potential vaccine, dubbed ChAdOx1 nCoV-19, will be developed by the Jenner Institute and Oxford Vaccine Group at the University of Oxford.

As part of the deal, AstraZeneca will take responsibility for the development, as well as worldwide manufacturing and distribution of the vaccine.

Oxford University vice-chancellor professor Louise Richardson said: “Like my colleagues all across Oxford, I am deeply proud of the work of our extraordinarily talented team of academics in the Jenner Institute and the Oxford Vaccine Group.”

Last week, the phase I clinical trials have been initiated to assess the safety and efficacy of the potential vaccine in healthy volunteers aged between 18 years and 55 years. The study started at five trial centres in Southern England.

The data from the phase I study is expected to be revealed next month. The late-stage trials are expected to be initiated in the middle of this year.

The ChAdOx1 nCoV-19, which was designed at the University of Oxford’s Jenner Institute by working with the Oxford Vaccine Group, applies a viral vector based on a weakened version of the common cold (adenovirus) containing the genetic material of SARS-CoV-2 spike protein.

In addition, the surface spike protein is generated after vaccination, which primes the immune system to attack COVID-19 if it later infects the body.

The recombinant adenovirus vector (ChAdOx1) has been selected to generate a strong immune response from a single dose and not replicating, helping to avoid an ongoing infection in the vaccinated individual.

AstraZeneca CEO Pascal Soriot said: “This collaboration brings together the University of Oxford’s world-class expertise in vaccinology and AstraZeneca’s global development, manufacturing and distribution capabilities.

“Our hope is that, by joining forces, we can accelerate the globalisation of a vaccine to combat the virus and protect people from the deadliest pandemic in a generation.”

Recently, AstraZeneca, along with the Saint Luke’s Mid America Heart Institute, has commenced a phase III DARE-19 study with Farxiga (dapagliflozin) in COVID-19 patients.