The preliminary trial results of the vaccine are very encouraging, it is safe and can train the immune system but it requires more work.
Taking the lead in the race to find a cure for Covid-19, Oxford University announces its vaccine is safe and has shown an encouraging immune response in early clinical trials in healthy volunteers. The experimental vaccine is called AZD1222 and is licensed to AstraZeneca – British-Swedish pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical company.
The early preliminary trial results were published in The Lancet medical journal. The trail included 1077 healthy adults aged 18-55 years with no history of Covid-19. The trial did not show serious side effects, it produced antibodies and a good T-cell immune response. The strongest response was seen in people who received two doses.
The mild side-effects caused by this vaccine could be reduced by taking paracetamol and will have no adverse effects from the vaccine.
Said the lead author Andrew Pollard: “We hope this means the immune system will remember the virus, so that our vaccine will protect people for an extended period.” However more research needs to be done before they can confirm the vaccine is safe and effective against Covid-19 infection.
Researchers also expressed caution. Vaccine developer Sarah Gilbert said, “There is still much work to be done before we can confirm if our vaccine will help manage the Covid-19 pandemic. We still do not know how strong an immune response we need to provoke to effectively protect against SARS-CoV-2 infection.”
Depending upon how quickly late-stage trails will be completed and the vaccine proves successful, a million doses could be manufactured by September and the vaccine could be in use by the end of the year, said the director of Oxford University’s Jenner Institute, Adrian Hill.
“Today’s data increases our confidence that the vaccine will work and allows us to continue our plans to manufacture the vaccine at scale for broad and equitable access around the world,” said Mene Pangalos, Executive Vice President at AstraZeneca.
Manufacturer AstraZeneca has also announced it will not seek to profit from the vaccine during the pandemic. It has signed agreements with several countries to supply the vaccine – as it proves effective and gains regulatory approval.
The British Prime Minister Boris Johnson tweeted: “There are no guarantees, we’re not there yet and further trials will be necessary – but this is an important step in the right direction.”