Britain today stepped up the battle to defeat coronavirus with Oxford University scientists successfully completed the second phase of developing a vaccine.
A coronavirus vaccine developed by the University of Oxford appears safe to use in humans and trains the immune system.
The early-stage trial has found that the vaccine 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 and antibody response after 28 days.
Trials involving around 1,077 people showed the injection led to them making antibodies and white blood cells that can fight coronavirus.
The findings are hugely promising, but it is still too soon to know if this is enough to offer protection and larger trials are underway.
“We are seeing very good immune responses, not just on neutralizing antibodies but of T-cells as well,” said Adrian Hill, head of Oxford’s Jenner Institute, in an interview. “We’re stimulating both arms of the immune system.”
Although stimulating the production of neutralizing antibodies doesn’t prove a vaccine will be effective, it’s considered an important early step in testing. Results from testing in animals had already shown the Oxford-AstraZeneca shot provoked an immune response.
One critical question among scientists is whether antibodies produced in response to Covid-19 offer protection against getting infected again.
The potential vaccine by Oxford is one of at least 100 being developed across the world for Covid-19, which has infected more than 14 million people worldwide and killed at least 606,206, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.