Speed Reads

Solving COVID

Oxford researchers have reportedly received promising news about their coronavirus vaccine

The University of Oxford's Jenner Institute made waves last week when U.K. Health Minister Matt Hancock announced a team is starting trials on a potential coronavirus vaccine of which there could be a million doses by September, which is, in vaccine terms, incredibly fast. There's still a long way to go before determining if the vaccine is viable, but The New York Times reports there's promising news that it may be both safe and effective.

Scientists at the National Institute of Health's Rocky Mountain Laboratory in Montana tested the Oxford vaccine on six rhesus macaques monkeys. The monkeys were exposed to heavy quantities of the coronavirus, an amount that had previously sickened other monkeys in the lab, before receiving a single dose of the vaccine. More than four weeks later all six monkeys were healthy, Dr. Vincent Munster, the researcher who conducted the test, told the Times. That doesn't mean it will work the same way in humans, but Munster noted the rhesus macaque is "pretty much the closest thing we have to humans," so the results are at least promising.

One thing that could hold trials back, however, is if other measures to curb the pandemic, such as social distancing, work too well, the Times reports. In order to get a real sense of a vaccine's efficacy, tests need to be conducted in places where the virus is spreading swiftly. Read more at The New York Times.