Corona vaccine: University of Oxford announces breakthrough

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covid1According to “The Lancet”, researchers in Great Britain and China report first successes in the search for corona vaccine.

20 July 2020 – Oxford. A British vaccine against the corona virus appears to be safe and to boost the immune system, according to a study. The drug, developed by the University of Oxford and the British pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca, has a dual effect: it promotes the production of both specific antibodies and T-cells – both of which are important for the immune defence.

“Strong immune response” in over 1,000 subjects The experts reported about the results in the British medical journal “The Lancet” on Monday. First results of the phase 1/2 study had already been announced last week. The trials with 1077 healthy persons were considered promising. The clear immune response was still evident 56 days after the vaccination and could possibly be prolonged by a second dose, according to “The Lancet”.

Nevertheless, it is still unclear whether the vaccine called ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 offers sufficient protection, the experts say. In order to clarify this question, further tests with thousands of volunteers have already begun in Brazil in a Phase III study. The vaccine is based on certain manipulated viruses that are actually found in monkeys.

“A lot of work needs to be done before we can confirm that our vaccine will help manage the Covid 19 pandemic,” said co-author Sarah Gilbert of Oxford University. According to the scientists, the vaccine caused side effects such as exhaustion and headaches, but nothing serious. Great Britain has already ordered 100 million doses of the vaccine.

Also on Monday, Chinese researchers presented in “The Lancet” successes of a vaccine in a phase 2 trial with more than 500 people. The vaccine is also safe and has caused a reaction of the immune system such as antibodies or corresponding defence cells (T cells) in the blood, writes the team around Feng-Cai Zhu from the Jiangsu Provincial Center for Disease Control and Prevention in Wuhan. According to the team, possible side effects included fever, tiredness or pain at the vaccination site and were mostly mild. With this vaccine, too, it still has to be tested whether the immune defence triggered by the vaccine is sufficiently effective.

There is an international race of scientists and pharmaceutical companies for a corona vaccine. The drug from Oxford is among the promising candidates. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), more than 20 vaccines are currently being tested in clinical trials on humans.

— hector pascua, source, the Lancet

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