Pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca has developed a positive immune response in an early-stage human trial developed with Oxford University in the U.K. The news comes according to the newly released data report published on Monday in the medical journal The Lancet.
The experimental vaccine called ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 combines genetic markers from the coronavirus with a modified adenovirus that is known to cause infections in chimpanzees. The phase one trial has reportedly had more than a thousand participants of people aged between 18 to 55. CNBC News reports that the researchers say that the vaccine has produced both antibodies and killer T-cells to combat the infection that lasted at least two months. Neutralizing antibodies, which scientists believe is important to gain protection against the virus, were detected in participants. The T-cell response did not increase with a second dose of the vaccine, they said, which is consistent with other vaccines of this kind.
“The immune system has two ways of finding and attacking pathogens – antibody and T cell responses,” Oxford Professor Andrew Pollard said in a release. “This vaccine is intended to induce both, so it can attack the virus when it’s circulating in the body, as well as attacking infected cells. We hope this means the immune system will remember the virus, so that our vaccine will protect people for an extended period.”
The vaccine has responded well with trial patients with no serious adverse effects, according to the researchers. Fatigue and headache were the most commonly reported, they said. Other common side effects included pain at the injection site, muscle ache, chills and a fever. Professor Adrian Hill, director of Oxford University’s Jenner Institute, told CNBC on Monday that the strong immune response means the vaccine is more likely to provide protection against the virus, though nothing is guaranteed. He said scientists hope to begin human trials in the United States in the next few weeks.
Serum Institute of India to manufacture 1 billion doses
As per reports, the Serum Institute of India will begin human trials for the AstraZeneca Oxford Vaccine from August.
“At present, we are working on the AstraZeneca Oxford vaccine which is undergoing phase III clinical trials. In addition to this, we will also start human trials in India in August 2020. Based on the current situation and most recent updates on the clinical trials, we are hoping that the AstraZeneca Oxford vaccine will be available towards the end of this year,” Serum Institute of India CEO Adar Poonawalla told news agency PTI.
Oxford is likely to publish the data for the initial stages of the trials that have made the vaccine a beacon of hope for the world suffering from a fast-spreading COVID-19 outbreak.
“Serum Institute of India has entered a manufacturing partnership with AstraZeneca to produce and supply 1 billion doses of the Covid-19 vaccine being developed by Oxford University. These vaccines will be for India and middle and low-income countries across the world (GAVI countries),” Poonawalla added.
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