There is hope of positive data today from phase-I trials of Oxford University's potential COVID-19 vaccine licensed to AstraZeneca
Positive data from initial Phase 1 trials of AstraZeneca, the University of Oxford’s potential COVID-19 vaccine, may be released on July 16 (today), a source told Robert Peston, political editor – ITV.
While trails have already reached Phase III – i.e. large scale human trials to access protection against the novel coronavirus, developers have not yet revealed Phase 1 data, which could show the immune response induced by the potential vaccine.
Earlier in July, developers said immune response gleaned from the trials has so far been “encouraging” and they expect to publish data for Phase 1 by month-end. The Lancet medical journal is expected to publish it.
Frequently Asked Questions
A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.
There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.
Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.
In a blog post, Peston said: "I am hearing there will be positive news soon (perhaps tomorrow) on initial trials of the Oxford Covid-19 vaccine that is backed by AstraZeneca."
“We are awaiting confirmation from a scientific journal on the publication date and time for the data and are not able to confirm when it will be released," an Oxford University spokeswoman told Reuters.
More than 100 vaccines are being developed and tested around the world to try to stop the COVID-19 pandemic. Till July 16, 13,516,656 cases have been recorded worldwide and the virus has killed as many as 583,450, as per the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Research.