Daily US Times: A coronavirus vaccine developed by the University of Oxford proves to be safe and triggers an immune response.
Trials involving 1,077 people showed the injection led to them making T-cells and antibodies that can fight coronavirus.
The findings are hugely promising, but the vaccine is still too soon to know if this is enough to offer protection and larger trials are under way.
The United Kingdom has already ordered 100 million doses of the vaccine.
How does the vaccine work?
The name of the coroinavirus vaccine is ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 and it is being developed at unprecedented speed.
It 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 who use it and also to make it “look” more like coronavirus.
Scientists did this by transferring the genetic instructions for the coronavirus’s “spike protein”. This spike is crucial tool the virus uses to invade our cells – to the vaccine they were developing.
This means the vaccine resembles the coronavirus and the immune system can learn how to attack it.
What are antibodies and T-cells?
So far, much of the focus on coronavirus has been about antibodies, but these are only one part of our immune defence.
Antibodies are small proteins made by the immune system that stick onto the surface of viruses and neutralising antibodies can disable the coronavirus.
T-cells is type of white blood cell that help co-ordinate the immune system. T-cells are able to spot which of the body’s cells have been infected and destroy them.
Nearly all effective vaccines induce both an antibody and a T-cell response.
After vaccination, levels of T-cells peaked 14 days and antibody levels peaked after 28 days. The study has not run for long enough to understand how long they may last, the study in the Lancet showed.
Prof Andrew Pollard, from the Oxford research group said they are really pleased with the results published today as we’re seeing both neutralising antibodies and T-cells.
“They’re extremely promising and we believe the type of response that may be associated with protection,” said Prof Pollard
“But the key question everyone wants to know is does the vaccine work, does it offer protection… and we’re in a waiting game.”
The study showed 90% of people developed neutralising antibodies after one dose of the vaccine while only ten people were given two doses and all of them produced neutralising antibodies.
Prof Pollard said: “We don’t know the level needed for protection, but we can maximise responses with a second dose.”