COVID-19 vaccine

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COVID-19: Vaccine draws closer following successful trials

The first phase of research from Oxford University shows that their COVID-19 vaccine can trigger an auto-immune response to defeat the virus.

COVID-19 vaccine

Photo: Pexels

Two COVID-19 vaccine candidates have proven safe for humans and produced strong immune reactions among patients involved in separate clinical trials, doctors said Monday.

COVID-19 vaccine progress lifts hope for a cure soon

The first trial among more than 1 000 adults in Britain found that the vaccine-induced “strong antibody and T cell immune responses” against the novel coronavirus. The authors of the studies said that they encountered only a few adverse side effects from the vaccine candidates. 

However, they cautioned that more research was needed, particularly among older adults, who are disproportionately at risk of dying of COVID-19. Co-author Sarah Gilbert from the University of Oxford stated the results “hold promise, saying to AFP: “If our vaccine is effective, it is a promising option as these types of vaccine can be manufactured at large scale.”

UK government races to secure COVID-19 vaccine

The UK government has already said it would purchase 100 million doses of a vaccine currently being trialed by Oxford University in partnership with AstraZeneca. Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he was “hopeful” of rolling out a vaccine this year, if not cautiously optimistic:

“It may be that the vaccine is going to come riding over the hill like the cavalry, but we just can’t count on it right now,” he said in a televised interview. Britain has been one of the worst affected countries in the world since the outbreak began, suffering more than 45,000 deaths.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said an effective vaccine was “the best hope of defeating coronavirus and returning to life as normal“. 

Chinese research also looking good

A separate trial in China involving more than 500 people showed most had developed widespread antibody immune response. The studies, published in The Lancet medical journal, constitute a major step on the road towards a COVID-19 vaccine that is effective and safe for widespread use.