The coronavirus vaccine being developed by scientists at Oxford University may not be able to prevent people from becoming infected with the disease, experts have warned.
In the last animal experiments with the vaccine performed on rhesus monkeys, all six participating monkeys continued to catch the coronavirus.
Dr. William Haseltine, a former professor at Harvard Medical School, revealed that the monkeys who received the vaccine had the same amount of virus in their noses as the three unvaccinated monkeys in the trial.
This suggests that treatment, already received in the region of £ 90 million in public investment, may not stop the spread of the deadly disease.
The bomb came after last week’s initial reports suggested the vaccine offered ‘some’ immunity to the virus and prevented it from entering deep into the lungs, where it became deadly.
The vaccine, known as ChAdOx1 nCov-19, is currently undergoing its first human clinical trial as countries accelerate efforts to tackle the deadly virus.
A coronavirus vaccine developed in Great Britain may not stop infection in treated patients. Pictured: A volunteer is injected with the vaccine in Oxford University’s vaccine trial
Dr. Haseltine continued to write Forbes: “All vaccinated monkeys treated with the Oxford vaccine became infected when challenged.
There was no difference in the amount of detected viral RNA from (nasal secretions) in the vaccinated monkeys compared to the unvaccinated animals.
“That is to say, all vaccinated animals were infected.”
Molecular biology professor at Nottingham University, John Ball, warned, “The amount of virus genome detected in the noses of the vaccinated and unvaccinated monkeys was the same, which is worrying.
If this represents an infectious virus and something similar in humans, vaccinated people can still become infected and lose large amounts of virus.
“This could potentially spread to others in the community.”
Professor of immunology and infectious disease at Edinburgh University, Eleanor Riley, said the number of antibodies produced was “insufficient” to prevent infection and viral spread.
“If similar results were obtained in humans, the vaccine would likely provide partial protection against disease in the recipient, but it is unlikely to reduce transmission in the wider community,” she said.
Company Secretary Alok Sharma yesterday announced a deal between Oxford University and AstraZeneca, which could have millions of vaccines available in the UK by September
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN VACCINES MADE BY OXFORD AND IMPERIAL COLLEGE?
The science behind both vaccines hinges on recreating the ‘peak’ proteins found everywhere in the outside of the COVID-19 viruses.
Both will attempt to mimic or mimic these spikes in the body. The difference between the two is how they achieve this effect.
Imperial College London will attempt to deliver genetic material (RNA) from the coronavirus that programs cells in the patient’s body to recreate the spike proteins. It transports the RNA through liquid drops that are injected into the bloodstream.
The University of Oxford team, on the other hand, will genetically engineer a virus to look like the coronavirus – to have the same spike proteins on the outside – but cannot cause infection in a person.
Attenuated by genetic engineering, this virus is a type of virus called adenovirus, the same virus that causes colds and has been removed from chimpanzees.
If the vaccines can successfully mimic a person’s bloodstream peaks and stimulate the immune system to produce special antibodies to attack it, this could train the body to destroy the real coronavirus if they get there in the future get infected with it.
The same process is believed to happen in people who actually catch COVID-19, but this is much more dangerous – a vaccine has the same endpoint, but without causing disease.
The vaccine’s limitations were revealed when full trial results were published last week.
They also show that three out of six vaccinated monkeys started breathing faster than normal after becoming infected, making them clinically ill.
However, no one developed damage to the lungs. This was seen in two of the monkeys not receiving the vaccine.
Dr. Haseltine added, “It is abundantly clear that the vaccine did not provide sterilizing immunity to the virus challenge, the gold standard for any vaccine.
“It can provide partial protection.”
The vaccine entered its first human clinical trial last month. As many as 1,110 people in Oxford, Southampton, London and Bristol participate. Half get the vaccine while the others get a checkup.
The government announced a further £ 65.5 million investment yesterday in the Oxford vaccine trials.
Business Secretary Alok Sharma praised the vaccine and said yesterday: “The speed with which Oxford University designed and organized these complex trials is truly unprecedented.
“This new money will help mass produce the Oxford vaccine, so that if the current trials are successful, we will have dosages to immediately vaccinate the UK population.
“The UK will be the first to have access and we can also ensure that, in addition to supporting people here, we can make the vaccine available to developing countries at the lowest possible cost.”
Imperial College London is also working on a vaccine to stop the coronavirus, which targets the rapid immune response caused by the ‘spike’ protein on the virus surface.
It has received over £ 20 million in funding to date.
Six drugs for the treatment of coronavirus are currently being conducted in clinical studies worldwide.
China currently has four potential vaccines in clinical trials, three of which have entered phase two.
Trials of one vaccine developed by Beijing-based company Sinovac Biotech in April seemed to stop the development of Covid-19 in monkeys.
However, it used a Sars-Cov-2 virus, while the Oxford vaccine uses a weakened version of adenovirus (common cold) that causes infections in chimpanzees, to which the coronavirus spike protein has been added.
Sinovac Biotech has secured land and loans to develop a facility for the mass production of each effective vaccine.
The company was previously involved in the development of vaccines against hepatitis A, hepatitis B and H1N1 influenza.