June 24, 2020 / 9:05 PM / 2 months ago

Britain's Prince William visits Oxford COVID-19 vaccine developers

Britain's William, Duke of Cambridge, wears a mask as he meets scientists during a visit to the manufacturing laboratory where a vaccine against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has been produced at the Oxford Vaccine Group's facility at the Churchill Hospital in Oxford, Britain, June 24, 2020. Steve Parsons/Pool via REUTERS

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain’s Prince William on Wednesday visited the Oxford-based scientists who are working to develop a viable vaccine for COVID-19 as well as trial participants who are helping to determine whether or not it works.

The vaccine, originally known as ChAdOx1 nCoV-19, was originally developed by scientists at the University of Oxford, and they are now working with AstraZeneca on development and production.

It is already in human trials, with preliminary trials on pigs and monkeys showing some encouraging signs for the experimental vaccine, which is also known as AZD1222, in giving protection against COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus.

William, Queen Elizabeth’s grandson and second-in-line to the throne, met researchers working for the Oxford Vaccine Group, including the vaccine’s developer Sarah Gilbert and the leader of the clinical trial team Andrew Pollard.

He also spoke to AstraZeneca Chief Executive Pascal Soriot, and officials from Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) and international vaccine alliance Gavi via a video call.

AstraZeneca has signed deals with Britain, the United States and European countries to supply the vaccine.

Soriot has said that trial clinical results are expected in August or September, with deliveries possible from October, adding that he expects the vaccine, if it works, to protect against COVID-19 for about a year.

Reporting by Alistair Smout; editing by Stephen Addison

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