Two UK Coronavirus Vaccine Trials Show Positive Sign.
The early clinical results published by The Lancet on Monday, indicates the world may soon heave a sigh of relieve as two UK Coronavirus Vaccine trials have shown prospects in preventing the virus among humans.
According to The Lancet, the vaccines, developed by the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca (one of the two UK Coronavirus vaccine trials) have shown signs of inducing an immune response in patients involved in its trials.
The trial results found that the vaccines generated two ‘strong’ immune responses: the production of both antibodies and T cells, which find and attack virus cells.
Adrian Hill, the Director, Jenner Institute, Oxford University, said: “We are getting both sides of the immune system stimulated and that is fairly unusual for vaccines.”
“It is good news. It is another step forward on the long road to having a COVID-19 vaccine,” said Dr.William Schaffner an infectious disease expert at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nasxhvill. He was however not involved in the vaccine research.
Across the world, several scientists are working on other potential COVID-19 vaccines.
Last week, Moderna, a Cambridge, Massachusetts-based biotech company, announced plans to begin its final phase of human testing at the end of July. It also published its PHASE 1 trial results of its vaccine last week, researchers reported that all 45 volunteers developed antibodies to fighting the coronavirus.
Both the Moderna and Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines in development also suggested immune responses for antibodies and T cells, though Moderna’s T cell response was weaker.
The T cell response in the Oxford study was noted within 14 days of receiving the vaccine. Immunity was detected for at least 56 days after getting the shot. It’s unclear how long that will last.
Fatigue and headache were the most common side effects reported by the 1,077 study participants, all adults between the ages of 18 and 55.
However, whether the vaccine protects against coronavirus infection or not was not established by the clinical trial. That will be determined in the phase 3 trials, which are currently taking place in Brazil, South Africa and the United Kingdom. Trials will also be started in other parts of the world, including the United States.
“We want to look at the efficacy of the vaccine in different populations,” Hill said
The vaccine is made from an adenovirus, a weakened form of a common cold virus, that’s been genetically modified to carry instructions for cells to make the coronavirus’s notorious spike protein. The idea is that, if the vaccine can instruct human cells to make this protein, the human system can learn to recognize it and better protect against infection.
The experimental vaccine, in early research, induced antibody production in six rhesus monkeys. These monkeys are considered to be good proxies for how drugs could work in people because they share a majority of their genes with humans. When the researchers exposed the vaccinated animals to the coronavirus, they did not develop pneumonia or other lung problems.
Schaffner said, researchers “are working very rapidly. We’re saving time, because we’re doing some things simultaneously, that we used to do in sequence. No corners are being cut.”
According to Hill, the research was still targeting 2020 for a finished vaccine to be ready..
“A vaccine later this year is not impossible. A lot of things would have to go right for that to happen and to be deployed in 2020, but we’re still targeting that.”
On its part, NCDC, while expressing excitement over the development said it was a positive news towards having a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines.
“Phase I and II trials of the COVID-19 vacine candidate shows promise, however, phase III trials are needed to validate its efficacy against the virus,” NCDC tweeted.