Oxford COVID-19 vaccine safe, induces immune response, say scientists

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The vaccine candidate which was one of the first candidates to have reached the clinical trial stage is undergoing phase 3 of the clinical trials at the moment somewhere in Brazil.

The coronavirus vaccine created by the University of Oxford ChAdOx1 appears safe and has shown a protective immune response in hundreds of people who got the shot in an early trial, scientists announced on Monday after the first phase of human trials.

British researchers involved in the Oxford COVID-19 vaccine trial had first begun testing the Coronavirus vaccine in April this year in about 1,000 people. Half of these volunteers got the experimental vaccine.

In the research that was published on Monday in The Lancet journal, scientists said that they found their experimental COVID-19 vaccine produced a dual immune response in people aged 18 to 55. “We are seeing good immune response in almost everybody,” Dr. Adrian Hill, director of the Jenner Institute at Oxford University, told Associated Press.

He added that the vaccine triggers both arms of the immune system, and added that it also produces neutralizing antibodies — the molecules that are key to blocking infection.

The results during the Oxford COVID-19 vaccine trial show it induces strong antibody and T-cell immune responses for up to 56 days after administering it. The report said T-cells are crucial for maintaining protection against the virus for years.

Though the findings are seen as promising, the experts still feel it is too soon to know if this is enough to offer protection as larger trials get underway. Professor Sarah Gilbert, the co-author of the study, was quoted by PTI as saying that there’s still much work to do before it can be confirmed that the Oxford vaccine can help manage the COVID-19 pandemic.

Apart from the vaccine candidate of the Oxford university, the other vaccines which show promise of an early breakthrough include United States’ Moderna Inc’s vaccine which is expected to commence the third and the final phase of human trials on July 27.

India has also started the clinical trial of its vaccine candidate Covaxin. The first phase of the human trials will be done at AIIMS, New Delhi, AIIMS Patna and Post-Graduate Institute of Medical Sciences, Rohtak involving a total of 350 volunteers spread across the three hospitals.

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