One of the frontrunners in the race for a vaccine against COVID-19 has been found to produce a strong immune response in all adult groups, Oxford University said on Tuesday, in reference to the ongoing clinical trials of its vaccine candidate with British pharma giant AstraZeneca. While the results from these early trials are yet to be officially released, Professor Andrew Pollard from the university discussed the promising findings at a research conference recently.
The ChAdOx1 nCov-2019 vaccine, called AZD1222 by AstraZeneca, is currently undergoing worldwide trials with some reports raising hopes for a rollout within months. The latest findings, submitted for a peer-reviewed journal to be considered for publication in the coming weeks, will further boost these hopes.
Professor Pollard discussed the early findings of the Phase II safety and immunogenicity trial of the ChAdOx1 nCov-2019 Oxford coronavirus vaccine at a research conference, an Oxford University statement said. These early results covering trial volunteers from the UK in the 56-69 and 70+ age groups have been submitted to a peer-review journal, and we hope to see their publication in the coming weeks.
Our ongoing trials will provide further data, but this marks a key milestone and reassures us that the vaccine is safe for use and induces strong immune responses in both parts of the immune system in all adult groups, it said. AstraZeneca said that the initial results further build the body of evidence for the safety and immunogenicity of its experimental vaccine, one of around 10 promising COVID-19 vaccine candidates globally.
The results further build the body of evidence for the safety and immunogenicity of AZD1222," a company spokesperson said. We anticipate efficacy read-outs from phase 2/3 trials between now and the end of the year, and if approved within countries, doses of the potential vaccine could be available for use before the end of the year, the spokesperson said.
The development comes as UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock said during interviews this week that work on the Oxford University vaccine programme was progressing well and that his expectation was that the "bulk" of it is likely to be rolled out by next year. The world's hopes of gaining some level of control over the coronavirus pandemic, which has claimed over a million lives globally, are pinned on a viable vaccine.
The Oxford vaccine is seen as one of the most promising within that race, which in India is being trialled in partnership with the Serum Institute of India.