Vaccine provides long-term protection, says the Oxford study chief

A shot against the coronavirus should last at least several years, said the British scientist whose own vaccine project is the global frontrunner.

Professor Sarah Gilbert told MPs she was optimistic that a vaccine would provide “a good duration of immunity.”

She’s 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 within tests within a year.

A shot against the coronavirus should last at least several years, said the British scientist whose own vaccine project is the global frontrunner (stock photo)

A shot against the coronavirus should last at least several years, said the British scientist whose own vaccine project is the global frontrunner (stock photo)

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 a few years, and probably better than naturally acquired immunity. ‘

Professor Sarah Gilbert, an expert who leads an Oxford University team devising a vaccine, told MPs she was optimistic that a vaccine would provide 'a good duration of immunity'

Professor Sarah Gilbert, an expert who leads an Oxford University team devising a vaccine, told MPs she was optimistic that a vaccine would provide 'a good duration of immunity'

Professor Sarah Gilbert, an expert who leads an Oxford University team devising a vaccine, told MPs she was optimistic that a vaccine would provide ‘a good duration of immunity’

When asked about a timeline about the vaccine, after the opportunity was raised to survive the winter without it, Professor Gilbert told the committee, “I hope we can improve those timelines and come to your aid.”

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.

It comes as an experimental coronavirus vaccine being tested by Pfizer Inc and its German partner BioNTech produced neutralizing antibodies between 1.8 and 2.8 times larger than those in recovered patients.

The vaccine candidate uses part of the genetic code of the pathogen to help the body recognize and attack the coronavirus when a person becomes infected.

How the injectable vaccines from Imperial College London and Oxford University would work

How the injectable vaccines from Imperial College London and Oxford University would work

How the injectable vaccines from Imperial College London and Oxford University would work

The trial, using 45 people in three groups and a control group, showed encouraging early results.

“We still have a way to go and we are also testing other candidates,” said Philip Dormitzer, Chief Scientific Officer at Pfizer’s research labs. STAT News.

“What we can say at this point is that there is a viable candidate based on immunogenicity and safety data on early tolerance.”

The central question in these studies, however, 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.

It comes as an experimental coronavirus vaccine being tested by Pfizer Inc and its German partner BioNTech produced neutralizing antibodies between 1.8 and 2.8 times larger than those in recovered patients

It comes as an experimental coronavirus vaccine being tested by Pfizer Inc and its German partner BioNTech produced neutralizing antibodies between 1.8 and 2.8 times larger than those in recovered patients

It comes as an experimental coronavirus vaccine being tested by Pfizer Inc and its German partner BioNTech produced neutralizing antibodies between 1.8 and 2.8 times larger than those in recovered patients

Those who received either two shots of the low or medium dose of the vaccine generated levels of neutralizing antibodies between 1.8 and 2.8 times higher than those in recovered patients (above)

Those who received either two shots of the low or medium dose of the vaccine generated levels of neutralizing antibodies between 1.8 and 2.8 times higher than those in recovered patients (above)

Those who received either two shots of the low or medium dose of the vaccine generated levels of neutralizing antibodies between 1.8 and 2.8 times higher than those in recovered patients (above)

Kate Bingham, head of the Vaccine Taskforce in the UK, told MPs that she was less optimistic that the shot could protect against contracting the infection and is more likely to reduce the severity of the symptoms alone.

She said to the Science and Technology Committee of the House of Commons: “I am relatively optimistic that we will find a vaccine that can treat the population.

“The caveat is … is it a completely sterilizing vaccine, which means you can’t get infected, or is it a vaccine that basically just removes the symptoms so it reduces mortality?

‘It is clear that we would like to have a sterilizing vaccine so that people do not get infected.

Kate Bingham told MPs today that she was sure the world would have some form of vaccine against Covid-19 in early 2021.  But she said she was less optimistic that the shot might protect against contracting the infection and that the vaccine is more likely to reduce the severity of the symptoms

Kate Bingham told MPs today that she was sure the world would have some form of vaccine against Covid-19 in early 2021.  But she said she was less optimistic that the shot might protect against contracting the infection and that the vaccine is more likely to reduce the severity of the symptoms

Kate Bingham told MPs today that she was sure the world would have some form of vaccine against Covid-19 in early 2021. But she said she was less optimistic that the shot might protect against contracting the infection and that the vaccine is more likely to reduce the severity of the symptoms

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 rather than relying on the development of a vaccine.

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 emergency departments.”

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