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28 April 2020updated 06 Oct 2020 9:45am

Oxford vaccine team hopeful of millions of doses by September after promising tests in monkeys

By Samuel Horti

The team of government-backed Oxford scientists racing to produce a vaccine have said they are hopeful of having millions of doses ready by September, following promising tests in rhesus macaque monkeys.

Scientists at the National Institutes of Health’s Rocky Mountain Laboratory in Montana inoculated six monkeys with a single dose of the vaccine last month, and then exposed the animals to heavy quantities of coronavirus. The exposure had consistently sickened other monkeys in the lab, researchers told the New York Times, but a month later all six inoculated monkeys were healthy. “The rhesus macaque is pretty much the closest thing we have to humans,” one researcher said.

Researchers at the Oxford Vaccine Group and Oxford’s Jenner Institute, who are already testing the vaccine in humans, told the paper that they hoped to have tested 6,000 people by the end of next month, and to have millions of doses available by September.

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