Oxford coronavirus vaccine ‘safe and creates immune response’ - Lancet

20 July 2020, 14:54 | Updated: 20 July 2020, 15:37

Vaccine hope: A lab worker at Oxford's facility
Vaccine hope: A lab worker at Oxford's facility. Picture: PA

By Asher McShane

The Oxford University effort to create a coronavirus vaccine has been found to be safe and provokes a response in the immune system.

Medical journal the Lancet today published findings of the first phases of the vaccine trial with editor Richard Horton saying the results are "extremely encouraging."

Trials of 1,077 people have showed the injection caused them to make antibodies and white blood cells that can fight coronavirus.

Researchers found the vaccine provokes a T cell response within 14 days of vaccination, and an antibody response within 28 days.

Compared with the control group of those given a meningitis vaccine, the Covid-19 vaccine caused minor side effects more frequently, according to the study.

Researchers said paracetamol was sufficient to manage the side effects, adding that there were no serious adverse events from the vaccine.

Mr Horton posted on Twitter: "The phase 1/2 Oxford COVID-19 vaccine trial is now published. The vaccine is safe, well-tolerated, and immunogenic. Congratulations to Pedro Folegatti and colleagues. These results are extremely encouraging."

Professor Sarah Gilbert, of the University of Oxford, said: "There is still much work to be done before we can confirm if our vaccine will help manage the Covid-19 pandemic, but these early results hold promise.

"As well as continuing to test our vaccine in phase-three trials, we need to learn more about the virus - for example, we still do not know how strong an immune response we need to provoke to effectively protect against Sars-Cov-2 infection.

"If our vaccine is effective, it is a promising option as these types of vaccine can be manufactured at large scale.

"A successful vaccine against Sars-Cov-2 could be used to prevent infection, disease and death in the whole population, with high-risk populations such as hospital workers and older adults prioritised to receive vaccination."

The UK has already ordered over 100 million doses of the Oxford vaccine. However earlier today Boris Johnson said he was not 100 per cent certain that a vaccine would be created by the end of the year, or even next year.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock posted on Twitter: "Very encouraging news. We have already ordered 100 million doses of this vaccine, should it succeed. Congratulations to the scientists at @UniofOxford & @OxfordVacGroup and leadership of @AstraZeneca."

Earlier today it emerged that the Government had secured early access to more than 90 million doses of two other Covid-19 vaccines that are in development.

The Government secured an agreement for 30 million doses of a vaccine being developed by BioNTech and German firm Pfizer. There has also been an in-principle deal done for 60 million doses of a vaccine that is being developed by France's Valneva.