Breakthrough? UK’s Vaccine Against COVID-19 Safe, Induces Immune Reaction Show Preliminary Results

by GoNews Desk 2 weeks ago Views 559
Promising early stage results from a phase 1/2 clinical trial of the UK’s vaccine candidate against SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19) have been published on Monday in The Lancet.

The early stage trial finds that the vaccine is safe, causes few side effects, and induces strong immune responses in both parts of the immune system – provoking a T cell response within 14 days of vaccination (ie, a cellular immune response, it could find and attack cells infected with the virus), and an antibody response with 28 days (ie, humoral immune response, it could find and attack the virus when it was circulating in the blood or lymphatic system).

An ideal vaccine against SARS-CoV-2 should be effective after one or two vaccinations, work in target populations including older adults and those with other health conditions, confer protection for a minimum of six months, and reduce onward transmission of the virus to contacts. The current trial is too preliminary to confirm whether the new vaccine meets these requirements, but phase 2 (in the UK only) and phase 3 trials to confirm whether it effectively protects against SARS-CoV-2 infection are happening in the UK, Brazil and South Africa.

Explaining how the vaccine works, study lead author Professor Andrew Pollard, University of Oxford, UK, says: “The new vaccine is a chimpanzee adenovirus viral vector (ChAdOx1) vaccine that expresses the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein. It uses a common cold virus (adenovirus) that infects chimpanzees, which has been weakened so that it can’t cause any disease in humans, and is genetically modified to code for the spike protein of the human SARS-CoV-2 virus. This means that when the adenovirus enters vaccinated people’s cells it also delivers the spike protein genetic code. This causes these people’s cells to produce the spike protein, and helps teach the immune system to recognise the SARS-CoV-2 virus.”

Meanwhile, a phase 2 trial of an Ad5 vectored COVID-19 vaccine candidate, conducted in China, has found that the vaccine is safe and induces an immune response.

The randomised trial sought to evaluate the safety and immunogenicity of the vaccine candidate and follows a phase 1 trial published in May 2020. The results provide data from a wider group of participants than their phase 1 trial, including a small sub-group of participants aged over 55 years and older, and will inform phase 3 trials of the vaccine.

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However, the authors note that it is important to stress that no participants were exposed to SARS-CoV-2 virus after vaccination, so it is not possible for this study to determine whether the vaccine candidate effectively protects against SARS-CoV-2 infection.

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