British researchers testing an experimental coronavirus vaccine are moving into advanced studies and aim to immunize more than 10,000 people to determine if the shot works. Last month, scientists at Oxford University began immunizing more than 1,000 volunteers with their vaccine candidate in a preliminary trial designed to test the shot’s safety, the AP reports. On Friday, the scientists announced they now aim to vaccinate 10,260 people across Britain, including older people and children. "The clinical studies are progressing very well and we are now initiating studies to evaluate how well the vaccine induces immune responses in older adults and to test whether it can provide protection in the wider population," says Andrew Pollard, head of the Oxford Vaccine Group.
Earlier this week, drugmaker AstraZeneca said it had secured its first agreements for 400 million doses of the Oxford-developed vaccine, bolstered by a $1 billion investment from a US government agency, for the development, production, and delivery of the vaccine, starting in the fall. About a dozen different experimental vaccines are in early stages of human testing or poised to start, mostly in China, the US, and Europe, with dozens more in earlier stages of development. Scientists have never created vaccines from scratch this fast and it’s far from clear that any of the candidates will ultimately prove safe and effective. Often, possible vaccines that look promising early fail after testing expands to thousands of people—one reason the crowded field is important.
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