By Rachael Grealish
The COVID-19 vaccination being developed at the University of Oxford is reported to be safe and ‘induces an immune reaction’ it has been revealed in the first phase of human trials.
Between April and May, this year, doses of the vaccine, named AZD1222, were given to over 1,000 healthy adults between the ages of 18 and 55 across five UK hospitals.
The results were subsequently published in Lancet Journal today, Monday July 20, which reported the vaccine induced ‘strong antibody and T-cell immune responses for up to 56 days after they were given’.
Much of the research has focused on antibodies and T-cells which are crucial in protecting the body against the virus.
Antibodies are small proteins made by the immune system that stick onto the surface of viruses and by neutralising these antibodies can disable the coronavirus.
Then there are T-cells – these are a type of white blood cell which are able to spot which of the body’s cells are infected with the virus and destroy those.
One thing specifically monitored during the study was the reaction patients had to the vaccine.
This phase showed some of those who had been given the COVID-19 vaccine presented minor side effects more frequently than a control group who were given a meningitis vaccine – but these were reduced by taking paracetamol.
The report showed 70 percent of patients developed either a fever or headache following the vaccine.
Scientists found there were no serious adverse side effects presented in patients after the vaccine.
The report did show T-cell levels peaked 14 days after the vaccination and antibodies peaked after 28 days – however the study has not been running long enough for scientists to understand how long these may last.
In total the study showed 90 percent of people involved developed the neutralising antibodies after one dose and only 10 people required a second dose.
Following this success the UK Government has made a deal with AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford to secure access to 100 million doses of the vaccine.
This follows the news released this morning the government had secured early access to 90 million doses of promising COVID-19 vaccine candidates.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: “A safe and effective vaccine is our best hope of defeating coronavirus and returning to life as normal.
“We have some of our best scientists and researchers working on this, but members of the public have a vital role to play too.
“So I urge everyone who can to back the national effort and sign up to the NHS COVID-19 vaccine research registry to help find a vaccine as soon as possible.
“Every volunteer will be doing their bit towards finding a vaccine for COVID-19 that will have the potential to save millions of lives around the world and bring this pandemic to an end.”
It is still unclear when the UK will be able to access the vaccine on a wider scale – but this vaccine has been developed at unprecedented rate.