There is good news regarding a leading coronavirus vaccine from The United Kingdom. Oxford University scientists say that their experimental vaccine produced a protective immune response in hundreds of participants. Details were published in the journal Lancet.
I’m excited to share this latest research. It sounds very promising, especially this dual immune response. Now the testing first kicked off back in April with over 1,000 people between the ages of 18 to 55. But only half of them were given the experimental vaccine. The other half were a control group and they were given something else. And so far, what the researchers found was that their experimental vaccine produced a dual immune response. So what exactly does this mean? Well, it means that two things happened. Number one, researchers found that participants produced neutralizing antibodies. And that’s important as they can block infection. And number two, the vaccine also caused a reaction in the body’s T-cells. And this is great because T-cells also help fight the coronavirus.
How long did this dual immune response last? And these T-cells that you mentioned, how do they help the immune system?
The researchers said the dual immune response lasted at least two months. But more research regarding this is needed. As for T-cells, they are our immune warriors. They’re a type of white blood cell that finds, attacks and destroys body cells that have been infected. And they’re able to fight off some viruses. It fact, it’s actually very common for vaccines to produce both antibodies and a T-cell response in humans. So that’s why this vaccine is very promising.
We’ve heard this vaccine came from a virus that causes the common cold in chimpanzees. Is this true and is it safe?
The answer to both of your questions is yes. This vaccine was made from a genetically engineered virus that causes the common cold in chimpanzees. But it is considered safe and it doesn’t cause infections in humans. And that’s because that particular common cold virus has been modified and changed. It now has the spike protein and looks more like the coronavirus. And that’s so the body can learn how to attack it.
Were any side effects reported and what are the next steps?
There was nothing dangerous reported, just minor side effects like fever, muscle pain and chills. And they were easily managed with paracetamol, a common painkiller. As to the next steps, the vaccine’s effectiveness will be tested in a larger trial in several countries. It aims to recruit 10,000 in Britain, 5,000 in Brazil, 2,000 in South African and 30,000 in the U.S. The researchers hope to know by the end of this year if this vaccine is effective or not. So it’s still a waiting game regarding an effective vaccine but this news is certainly encouraging.