Coronavirus covid-19 vaccine
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Breakthrough in Oxford’s Early Trials of Covid-19 Vaccine

Early trials of the Oxford University COVID-19 vaccine are showing some success against coronavirus. Scientists at the University say early results prompted an immune response in over 1000 volunteers who were given the dose.

The COVID-19 vaccine trials’ protective response lasted for about two months.

The vaccine called AZD1222 is jointly developed by British-Swedish company AstraZeneca and UK’s Oxford University.

According to the results published in The Lancet medical journal on Monday, the vaccine based on a chimpanzee adenovirus called ChAdOx1 triggered antibody and T-cell immune responses.

The phase I/II trial done on 1077 healthy participants, aged between 18 and 55 years, drawn from the UK suggests that the vaccine did not appear to cause any serious side effects on the volunteers.

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How the vaccine works

Scientists at Oxford University made the AZD122 vaccine by genetically engineering a virus that causes common cold in chimpanzees.

The virus is modified so that it cannot cause infection in people and is made to mimic the coronavirus.

Coronavirus attacks humans cells using a tool called spike protein.

To make the vaccine resemble coronavirus, the researchers transferred the spike protein to their vaccine.

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This way, the body’s immune system can learn how to attack the virus by producing neutralizing antibodies, the molecules responsible for blocking the virus infection.

A ready vaccine not yet

However, WHO warns countries from dropping the guard and says there is a long way to go.

At least six months timeline is needed to determine the safety and efficacy of the virus before mass production is initiated.

The combined phase II/III trials to evaluate the vaccine’s effectiveness involves about 10,000 people from the UK, South Africa, and Brazil. Another trial involving 30,000 participants is planned to begin in the US.

For a vaccine to be effective, it must prove useful for elderly people and people with pre-existing conditions.

The vaccine should also be effective for at least six months before another dose is acquired.

However, widespread vaccination could be available, at the earliest, next year even if everything goes to plan.

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Who will get the dose first?

AstraZeneca aims to produce 2 billion doses of the vaccines to be available globally by early next year.

The US government has already invested $1 billion in Oxford’s trials to secure 100 million doses as soon as possible.

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The UK also aims to be among the first beneficiaries by investing $90 million in the research.

The UK government has already paid for 190 million doses from the Oxford vaccine and 90 million doses from other manufacturers.

Vaccine Trial Phases

According to the CDC, clinical development of a vaccine is a three-phase process.

In phase I, the trial vaccine is given to a small group of people to see if an immune response can be triggered.

In Phase II, the study is expanded and the trial vaccine is given to people who have characteristics, such as age and physical health, similar to those for whom the new vaccine is intended.

In Phase III, the vaccine is given to thousands of people and tested for efficacy and safety.

 

You can read more at the BBC Website