Scientists at Oxford University revealed that a vaccine being developed for the CCP virus, a novel coronavirus, has shown signs of immune response, according to the results of a clinical trial published on Monday.
The trial, published in the medical journal The Lancet, did not reveal whether the vaccine would prevent the coronavirus infection. Researchers are still attempting to determine that, they said.
Participants who received the vaccine had detectable neutralizing antibodies, according to Oxford University in a news release, also adding that ” these responses were strongest after a booster dose, with 100 percent of participants’ blood having neutralizing activity” against the virus. They said the next step is determining whether the vaccine can prevent the infection entirely.
“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,” Andrew Pollard, from the Oxford research group, said in the release.
In the study, half the more than 1,000 volunteers were given the proposed vaccine, and half were given a vaccine for meningitis. The proposed COVID-19 vaccine, called AZD-1222, caused more minor side effects than the meningitis one, but the study’s authors stated that acetaminophen, or paracetamol, relieved the drug’s effects, according to The Lancet (pdf).
The vaccine is being produced by pharmaceutical giant Astra Zeneca.
“We are encouraged by the Phase I/II interim data showing AZD1222 was capable of generating a rapid antibody and T-cell response against SARS-CoV-2. While there is more work to be done, 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,” stated Mene Pangalos, with AstraZeneca, in the release.
Authors of the study suggested that the vaccine should now be tested on older adults, who have weaker immune systems and are considered especially vulnerable to the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus.
Astra Zeneca said it has signed agreements with governments around the world to supply the vaccine should it prove effective and gain regulatory approval. The company has said it will not seek to profit from the vaccine during the pandemic.
The new trial included 1,077 healthy adults aged 18 to 55 years with no history of COVID-19.
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson welcomed the early results from the Oxford trial.
“This is very positive news,” he wrote. “A huge well done to our brilliant, world-leading scientists & researchers at [Oxford]. There are no guarantees, we’re not there yet & further trials will be necessary – but this is an important step in the right direction.”
Reuters contributed to this report.