Confirmed! Oxford's COVID-19 vaccine generates immune response, no major side-effects
The COVID-19 vaccine developed by researchers at Oxford University has been confirmed to be safe and effective. Medical journal The Lancet has finally published the results of the Phase 1/2 human trial of the experimental shot, detailing that it generates a strong dual immune response against the novel coronavirus disease, without any major side-effects. Here's all about it.
Neutralizing antibodies generated in most of the subjects
According to the published results, the vaccine, dubbed ChAdOx1 nCoV-19, was able to generate neutralizing antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 in most of the participants. The shot also generated sufficient levels of virus-attacking T-cells, offering additional protection. These cells were generated within 14 days of vaccination while the antibody response triggered within 28 days.
Here's the confirmation from The Lancet's editor
The phase 1/2 Oxford COVID-19 vaccine trial is now published. The vaccine is safe, well-tolerated, and immunogenic. Congratulations to Pedro Folegatti and colleagues. These results are extremely encouraging. https://t.co/oQp2eoZYIg— richard horton (@richardhorton1) July 20, 2020
1,077 participants took part in the human trial
In the study, which was a single-blind, randomized controlled trial, as many as 1,077 participants were enrolled across 5 sites in the UK. Out of these, 90% of those who were administered with ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 developed neutralizing antibodies required to fight off an infection after a single dose. Notably, 10 subjects were also given an additional dose and they all developed neutralizing antibodies.
Two doses might make a good strategy for vaccination
"We saw the strongest immune response in the 10 participants who received two doses of the vaccine, indicating that this might be a good strategy for vaccination," said Professor Andrew Pollard, the Chief investigator of the Oxford Vaccine Trial at Oxford University.
How the vaccine works?
The vaccine has been made from a weakened version of a common cold virus, or adenovirus, that causes infections in chimpanzees and has been genetically modified to not grow in humans. It contains the gene that makes the spike protein of the novel coronavirus and mimics a COVID-19 infection to prime the body to generate neutralizing antibodies to fight off the actual virus.
No major side-effects were noted
The Oxford COVID-19 vaccine was also proven to be safe. In the trial, the shot did not trigger severe reactions, but 70% participants did show signs of a fever or headache, which were managed with paracetamol. "The data shows that the vaccine did not lead to any unexpected reactions and had a similar safety profile to previous vaccines of this type," Professor Pollard added.
More data needed for approval and emergency use
While the results are promising, it must be noted that the vaccine is still not ready for public use. For that, it has to clear the larger Phase-3 trial which involves over 10,000 participants in the UK and other countries. The data from that trial will confirm the efficacy and safety, possibly prepping the vaccine for emergency use by late September or October.
PM Boris Johnson welcomes the move
This is very positive news. A huge well done to our brilliant, world-leading scientists researchers at @UniofOxford.— Boris Johnson #StayAlert (@BorisJohnson) July 20, 2020
There are no guarantees, we’re not there yet further trials will be necessary - but this is an important step in the right direction.https://t.co/PRUTu8rlPF
AstraZeneca is already scaling up manufacturing
To tackle the ongoing pandemic, AstraZeneca, Oxford's manufacturing partner, has struck several partnerships to get sufficient doses of the shot produced by the time of final results and approval. This way, if all goes according to the plan and shot is cleared for emergency use, it will be able to start the distribution immediately in the UK and other countries.
India also in line to get the Oxford vaccine
AstraZeneca has signed deals to supply 400 million doses of the vaccine to the UK and the US, 300 million doses to CEPI, Gavi Vaccine Alliance, 400 million doses to Europe's Inclusive Vaccines Alliance, spearheaded by Germany, France, Italy, and the Netherlands. Separately, it has contracted with the Serum Institute of India to supply a billion doses for low-to-middle income countries, including India.