Promising results emerge from vaccine trials

The Associated Press

LONDON – Scientists at Oxford University say their experimental coronavirus vaccine has been shown in an early trial to prompt a protective immune response in hundreds of people who got the shot.
British researchers first began testing the vaccine in April in about 1,000 people, half of whom got the experimental vaccine. Such early trials are designed to evaluate safety and see what kind of immune response was provoked, but can’t tell if the vaccine truly protects.
In research published Monday in the journal Lancet, scientists said that they found their experimental COVID-19 vaccine produced a dual immune response in people aged 18 to 55 that lasted at least two months after they were immunized.
“We are seeing good immune response in almost everybody,” said Dr. Adrian Hill, director of the Jenner Institute at Oxford University. “What this vaccine does particularly well is trigger both arms of the immune system,” he said.
Hill said that neutralizing antibodies are produced – molecules which are key to blocking infection. In addition, the vaccine also causes a reaction in the body’s T-cells which help to fight off the coronavirus.
The head of emergencies at the World Health Organization is hailing “good news” in results shown by COVID-19 vaccine candidates in early trials, but warns “there’s a long way to go.”
“We now need to move into larger-scale real-world trials,” Dr. Michael Ryan told reporters at a news conference in Geneva. “But it is good to see more data and more products moving into this very important phase of vaccine discovery.”
Also in the medical journal, Chinese researchers published a study on their experimental vaccine, using a similar technique as the Oxford team, that reported an immune response.
Ryan noted there are 23 COVID-19 candidate vaccines in clinical development, but until Monday only one had produced Phase 1 clinical data.