Oxford coronavirus vaccine induces strong immune responses

Next step towards the discovery of a safe, effective, and accessible vaccine against coronavirus.

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The coronavirus pandemic might be curtailed by vaccination. Good news comes out by Oxford University’s Jenner Institute and Oxford Vaccine Group. They have created a vaccine against coronavirus.

The results of this study are promising, yet it is still too soon to know if this is enough to offer protection, and more extensive trials are underway.

The vaccine called ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 works by provoking a T cell response within 14 days of vaccination (white blood cells that can attack cells infected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus), and an antibody response within 28 days.

Trials involving 1,077 people showed the injection led to them making antibodies and T-cells that can fight coronavirus. Participants who received the vaccine had detectable neutralizing antibodies, which have been suggested by researchers as necessary for protection, and these responses were strongest after a booster dose, with 100% of participants’ blood having neutralizing activity against the coronavirus.

 The next step in studying the vaccine is to confirm that it can effectively protect against SARS-CoV-2 infection.

Professor Pollard said, “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.”

The vaccine is made from a genetically engineered virus that causes the common cold in chimpanzees. It has been heavily modified, first so it cannot cause infections in people and also make it “look” more like coronavirus.

During the Phase I/II trial, the vaccine has been evaluated in more than 1,000 healthy adult volunteers aged between 18 and 55 years in a randomized controlled trial. A subset of these volunteers (10 people) received two doses of the vaccine. Between April 23, 2020, and May 21, 2020, 1077 volunteers, received the vaccine ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 or a placebo MenACWY vaccine. There were no serious adverse health events related to ChAdOx1 nCoV-19.

This work is done in collaboration with UK-based global biopharmaceutical company AstraZeneca for further development.

Business Secretary Alok Sharma said: “Today’s results are extremely encouraging, taking us one step closer to finding a successful vaccine to protect millions in the UK and across the world. Backed by £84 million Government investment for the vaccine’s development and manufacture, the agility and speed with which the University of Oxford has been working is outstanding. I am very proud of what they have achieved so far.”

Kate Bingham, Chair of the UK’s Vaccine Taskforce, said“The UK is fortunate to have such outstanding academic innovators working alongside the highly experienced global team at AstraZeneca. This partnership is working at exceptional speed to demonstrate the safety and clinical effectiveness of the chadox vaccine in protecting people against COVID-19 infection.”

Journal Reference:
  1. Pedro M Folegatti, MSc et al. Safety and immunogenicity of the ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 vaccine against SARS-CoV-2: a preliminary report of a phase 1/2, single-blind, randomized controlled trial. DOI: 10.1016/S0140-6736(20)31604-4