London: While the world is threatened by the pandemic caused due to the Covid-19 infection, a ray of hope is visible from the Oxford University, England. The ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 vaccine, they have developed is found to be effective. This corona vaccine appears safe and triggers an immunity response.
Trials involving 1,077 people showed the injection led to them making antibodies and T-cells that can fight coronavirus. The findings are hugely promising, but it is still too soon to know if this is enough to offer protection and larger trials are under way. The UK has already ordered 100 million doses of the vaccine.
How does the vaccine fight the virus?
The ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 corona vaccine is processed very fast in the Oxford labs. It is made from a genetically engineered virus that causes the common cold in chimpanzees. It has been heavily modified, first so it cannot cause infections in people and also to make it “look” more like corona virus. Scientists did this by transferring the genetic instructions for the corona virus’s “spike protein” – the crucial tool it uses to invade our cells – to the vaccine they were developing. This means the vaccine resembles the corona virus and the immune system can learn how to attack it.
Vaccine’s effect on antibodies and T cells
Antibodies and T cells are responsible for destroying the virus that enter our body. The ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 vaccine induced T cells, 14 days after the vaccination and antibodies, 28 days after the dose. Prof Andrew Pollard, from the Oxford research group said: “We’re really pleased with the results published today as we’re seeing both neutralizing antibodies and T-cells.
“They’re extremely promising and we believe the type of response that may be associated with protection. But the key question everyone wants to know is does the vaccine work, does it offer protection. We’re in a waiting game.”
The study showed 90% of people developed neutralizing antibodies after one dose. Only ten people were given two doses and all of them produced neutralizing antibodies. “We don’t know the level needed for protection, but we can maximize responses with a second dose,” Prof Pollard added.
Safety of the vaccine
This corona vaccine is found to be safe; but has side-effects. Although the side-effects were now way dangerous, 70 per cent of the people tested developed either fever or head ache. The researchers said that this would be managed by a paracetamol.
Prof Sarah Gilbert, from 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.”
What’s next in the trial?
The results so far are promising, but their main purpose is to ensure the vaccine is safe enough to give to people. The study cannot show whether the vaccine can either prevent people from becoming ill or even lessen their symptoms of Covid-19.
More than 10,000 people will take part in the next stage of the trials in the UK. However, the trial has also been expanded to other countries because levels of coronavirus are low in the UK, making it hard to know if the vaccine is effective.
When will the vaccine be available?
It is possible a corona virus vaccine will be proven effective before the end of the year; however, it will not be widely available. Health care workers will be prioritised as will people who are deemed at high risk from Covid-19 due to their age or medical conditions.
Anyway, widespread vaccination is likely to be, at the earliest, next year even if everything goes to plan.