A coronavirus vaccine being developed in Britain shows positive signs that it could work after trials showed participants develop cells that can kill the disease, it was revealed today.
The Oxford team of scientists have already said they are ’80 percent’ confident they can get a shot by September with more good news expected this week.
Today, studies have shown that the vaccine triggers an antibody response in the body and the critical T cells that will kill the virus in the body.
About 8,000 British are participating in a large trial of the Oxford vaccine, which is manufactured by the pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca. But as coronavirus numbers have fallen in this country, researchers are also aiming to vaccinate 4,000 individuals in Brazil and 2,000 in South Africa.
A source told the ITV News political editor Robert Peston: ‘An important point to keep in mind is that the immune response has two dimensions: antibodies and T cells. Everyone is focused on antibodies, but there is growing evidence that the T cell response is important in defense against coronavirus. ‘
A coronavirus vaccine being developed in Britain shows positive signs that it could work after trials showed participants develop cells that can kill the disease
WHAT ARE THE LEADING COVID-19 VACCIN CANDIDATES?
Clinical teams from the University of Oxford’s Jenner Institute and Oxford Vaccine Group began developing the ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 vaccine, now called AZD1222, since a manufacturing partnership with pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca.
Human trials started on April 23 and are now in the final stages.
Project lead Professor Sarah Gilbert told The Times that she is “80 percent” convinced of the success.
Imperial College London
Professor Robin Shattock leads a team working to produce a vaccine at Imperial College.
Fifteen volunteers have already received the trial vaccines, and testing is expected to reach as many as 200-300 new entrants in the coming weeks.
A second trial with 6000 people will follow later.
But Professor Shattock said the vaccine won’t be available until 2021, even if everything goes according to plan.
If the jab works, the team wants to make it as cheap as possible so that the entire UK population can be vaccinated for the ‘really good price’ of just under £ 200 million.
Based in Massachusetts, Moderna was the first U.S. company to begin human trials on March 16 with its potential Covid-19 vaccine, known as mRNA-1273.
The shot has been shown to elicit an immune response in all 45 injected volunteers, according to a study published July 14 in the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine.
Moderna’s shot showed early promise in its phase 2 human tests last month. The company reported that it initiated antibody production, similar to that in recovered coronavirus patients.
The Chinese vaccine Ad5-nCoV, made by CanSino, was the first-ever shot to undergo clinical trials earlier this year and is a leading candidate.
A trial of 108 healthy volunteers in China showed that it safely triggered an immune response in participants.
Results published May 22 The Lancet showed that most people who received the vaccine had immune responses, although their levels of antibodies thought to neutralize the virus were relatively low. Researchers saw a stronger increase in other immune compounds called T cells, which may also help fight the infection.
Pfizer and BioNTech have been working on a number of potential Covid-19 vaccines under the ‘BNT162 program’.
It reported positively Preliminary results from the ongoing Phase I / II clinical trial of a called BNT162b1 on July 1.
Data are available for the trial of BNT162b1 in 24 volunteers. The results showed that it was well tolerated and produced dose-dependent immunity.
Dr. Kathrin Jansen, Pfizer’s head of vaccine research and development, said the vaccine “is capable of producing neutralizing antibody responses in humans at or above observed levels” in Covid-19 survivors.
Pfizer received the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) fast track designation this month for two of their four potential Covid-19 vaccines.
Johnson & Johnson
The drug giant started the vaccine in January, two months before Covid-19 was labeled a global pandemic.
A vaccine project led by Johnson and Johnson will begin recruiting people in September, with clinical data available by the end of the year.
An emergency batch of the vaccine is expected to be approved as early as 2021, which would likely be a priority for vulnerable people.
A shot against the coronavirus should last at least several years, the British scientist whose own vaccine project is the global forerunner, said earlier this month.
Professor Sarah Gilbert told MPs that she was optimistic that a vaccine would provide “a good duration of immunity.”
She is the world-renowned expert who leads an Oxford University team devising a vaccine, so her claim could help allay fears about how long protection against Covid-19 could last.
Concerns had arisen after people with other types of coronavirus – which are less dangerous and cause colds – could be reinfected in tests within a year.
But Professor Gilbert told the Commons Science and Technology Committee that there may be a better outcome of a vaccine than the natural immunity obtained when individuals simply recover from a virus. She said, “Vaccines have a different way of dealing with the immune system, and we follow people in our studies who use the same kind of technology to make the vaccines for years, and we still see strong immune responses.
“It’s something we need to test and track over time – we can’t know until we actually have the data – but we’re optimistic from previous studies that we’ll see a good duration of immunity, at least several years, and probably better than naturally acquired immunity. ‘
The key question is whether the vaccine will protect them from infection or simply make them less sick. It may also work less well in older people because their immune systems are weaker.
Sir John Bell, regional professor of medicine at Oxford University, also provided evidence to the committee, warning that the UK should “prepare for the worst” this winter instead of relying on vaccine development.
But he said he has now seen tests for a good standard coronavirus that can yield a result in minutes.
Sir John said, “That would be transformative because we could all test ourselves regularly and test our kids after doing a rave and all that stuff.”
He also urged the British to have the flu shot to “avoid pandemonium in the emergency department.”
Studies have also been started into a possible treatment with antibodies that could protect the elderly from coronavirus.
Instead of a traditional vaccine, the proposed treatment would give patients a three-minute infusion of antibodies to the virus, which could provide protection for up to six months.
For people whose immune systems do not respond to a vaccine, including those taking immunosuppressants or undergoing chemotherapy, this could be an alternative way to develop resistance to the virus.
Older people also respond less to vaccines, so the antibody infusion may provide additional protection to older people who are more at risk for coronavirus, The Times reported.
Pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca is testing the treatment, and the drug manufacturer is also working with Oxford University on a possible vaccine.
In addition to preventing people from contracting the disease, antibody therapy can help people who have contracted it recover faster.
Sir Mene Pangalos, who directs the company’s investigation into the treatment of respiratory disease, told The Times, “There is an older population who [may not] get a particularly good immune response to the vaccine,
“In those cases, you may want to prophylactically treat those patients with an antibody to give them additional protection.”
It is not yet clear whether the treatment will work and the first human trial will have only about 30 participants.
If no safety problems arise, testing can start on a larger scale in the autumn.
Sir Mene added, “We’re going to do this as soon as possible
“Obviously we have to show that you are safe, but antibodies are known entities – it should be safe.
The trial comes after initial research at Vanderbilt University in the United States, looking at monoclonal antibodies, which can mimic the antibodies the body makes after infection with the coronavirus.
However, the antibody therapy is not expected to be an alternative to a vaccine as it will cost a lot while not providing protection for so long.