Dr. Green is part of a team, led by Professor Sarah Gilbert, of the Jenner Institute in Oxford, which has identified a candidate vaccine and is working on the first phase of clinical trials. The researchers, who started work on January 20, have identified a chimpanzee adenovirus vaccine vector (ChAdOx1) as the most suitable candidate for a COVID-19 vaccine because it can generate a strong immune response from ‘a dose and it is not a replicating virus. After a government grant of £ 22 million, they are now looking for 510 volunteers to take the vaccine to the next stage of clinical trials, hoping to start large-scale manufacturing by the end of the year.
She said: “The challenges are the speed with which we have discovered that you have to work in an emerging pandemic, we have a lot of experience using this system in a pleasant, slow and stable research environment.
“The challenge is to know how to do this process which normally takes us 18 months from start to finish, as quickly as possible while maintaining the quality you need because you are going to put an experimental vaccine in some volunteers.
“We are under huge pressure, I think the pressure is coming from us because we want to try to help, but there is a lot of pressure from the media, your mom and dad’s friends, but the government is very sensitive in his approach.
Antibody would be a good weapon for the NHS
Dr. Green working on COVID-19 vaccine
It’s a perfectly valid approach
“We are very clear that we have to do the right thing and we do the testing and quality control. “
Dr Green told Express.co.uk that the problem with this approach is that the team will return to square one if the results are not positive.
She added, “The risk is that we only get one injection – to go quickly, what you can’t do is try a lot of different versions of this vaccine.
“Very often what we do in the research community is try three, four or five different models and see which one is the best and choose the one.
“But we didn’t have time to do it, so we had to choose one based on the success we have had with other vaccines.
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“Pick one, put all our eggs in one basket and go, because we have to start all the different trials.
“There is a risk that we could have made this huge effort and the first results will arrive at the end of April and we will not be able to start the tests on humans because they failed. “
In the United States, Distributed Bio’s co-founder and CEO, Dr. Jacob Glanville, revealed in March that his business was “three to four weeks” away from developing a therapeutic antibody to “recognize and neutralize” the virus.
Instead of using a vaccine to boost immunity to the virus, its antibody would be injected into the blood and start working within 20 minutes.
Dr. Green told Express.co.uk that this is an exciting project and that something should be studied to coincide with a vaccine.
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She added, “It’s a perfectly valid approach, it’s not something that we have special expertise here because we make viral vaccines, but there are many places in the world that are good for make good antibodies.
“You can make good antibodies by looking at someone who has improved or by doing a lot of complicated testing to predict which antibodies would be good to make.
“The problem is that if you inject this antibody for immunity, it will only last a very short time, it will not stay in your body.
“They don’t stay with you long term but they help you fight the disease in real time. “
Dr. Green suggested that such an approach would be perfect for helping protect front-line NHS workers and the most vulnerable members of society, but costly to deploy nationwide.
Antibodies can be directed directly into the blood
A vaccine could be ready next year
She added, “So you can use them for front-line health care workers as protection in a hazardous environment, or you can use them to treat, and so on, those who start showing signs of infection.
“It has a different purpose, but it could be very useful to inject it and vaccinate it.
“It would be good to wait a long time and really good to help protect our front line NHS workers and the older people who are most at risk.”
“But they tend to be very expensive, I’m sure the government is considering them.” “
Dr. Green hopes that a vaccine will be available to the British next year, but will stress the need to pay attention to the project.
She continued, “We have had considerable support in the UK bioproduction industry to help us provide equipment and facilities.
“So everything is working behind the scenes at the moment.
“As we begin to see that it is safe and effective, we will work with the government to expand it in the hope that by the end of this year we will be able to have the manufacturing to do it.
“It is going as fast as we can, we have really good support from the government and the British industry that we are going to need.”
“It is not fast, but we will go as fast as possible, as surely as possible. “