UK coronavirus vaccine triggers immune response in trials

Scientists at Oxford University say trials of an experimental coronavirus vaccine show early promise.

| Coronavirus pandemic, United Kingdom, Health, Europe

There has been a significant development in the race to develop a COVID-19 vaccine.

Scientists from Oxford University have published their research results which show good immunity among volunteers after a single dose of the experimental vaccine. 

"We still need to see how the vaccine performs in older people, who are more at risk of severe disease, than the people we vaccinated in this study," said Sarah Gilbert, the lead vaccine researcher at the University of Oxford. "So that's the subject of future work, and there'll be more publications to come."

The trials involved more than 1,000 volunteers and found that T-cells, which attack the virus, peaked 14 days after vaccination, while defensive antibodies peaked 28 days after vaccination. 

Side effects have been minor, including tiredness and headaches.

The trials are now in their third phase with a much larger pool of volunteers across several countries. 

Dr Ellie Cannon, a family doctor, volunteered to be vaccinated for the trial after losing friends and patients to the virus.

"I really felt very strongly that I wanted to do something," Dr Cannon said. "I just wanted to be a part of the answer. I don't think there's going to be one answer to COVID. I think there's going to be a few different answers."

There is still no guarantee that the early promise of the Oxford trials will lead to an effective vaccine, but scientists say the signs are good. 

Trials of a vaccine in China being developed on a similar basis have also been shown to be safe and have generated an immune response. 

This report was produced and edited by Al Jazeera NewsFeed's Hassan Ghani.

Source: Al Jazeera