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Phase I trial begins of new vaccine against the Plague

Tuesday July 27th 2021

Volunteers are being sought to test a new vaccine against the plague, it has been announced.

Researchers at the University of Oxford have based the new vaccine on the ChAdOx1 adenovirus viral vector platform, which is used in the AstraZeneca/Oxford coronavirus vaccine.

The trial will involve 40 healthy adults aged 18 to 55 receiving the phase 1 vaccine to assess side effects and determine how well it induces protective antibody and T cell responses.

Professor Sir Andrew Pollard, director of the Oxford Vaccine Group, said: “The coronavirus pandemic has shown the importance of vaccines to defend populations from the threat caused by bacteria and viruses.

“Plague threatened the world in several horrific waves over past millennia, and, even today, outbreaks continue to disrupt communities. A new vaccine to prevent plague is important for them and for our health security.”

There are three different types of plague: bubonic, pneumonic and septicaemic. If left untreated, the bubonic form has a 30%-60% fatality rate and the pneumonic form is almost always fatal. Both bubonic and pneumonic plague can develop into septicaemia.

Although for much of the world plague has been eliminated, cases continue to occur in rural areas of Africa, Asia and the USA.

From 2010 to 2015, 3,248 cases were reported globally and there were 584 deaths. An epidemic in Madagascar from August 2017 to November 2017 saw 2,119 suspected cases and 171 deaths.

Christine Rollier, associate professor of vaccinology at the Oxford Vaccine Group, said: “Although antibiotics can be used to treat plague, many areas experiencing outbreaks are very remote locations. In such areas, an effective vaccine could offer a successful prevention strategy to combat the disease.”

Volunteers for the trial will receive expert follow up for 12 months, before the researchers start to evaluate the data.

To find out more about the study, or to sign up, visit the plague vaccine website

Tags: Flu & Viruses | Pharmaceuticals | UK News | World Health

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