Oxford researcher expects coronavirus vaccine results by Christmas

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CHINA Chinese experimental vaccine induces a quick response

Almost one million people have been administered a COVID-19 vaccine by China's National Pharmaceutical Group (Sinopharm), the company claimed on Wednesday, through the emergency use programme approved by Beijing in July. 144 healthy volunteers took part in phase one trials from 16 to 25 April this year.

They are also testing whether the vaccine stops people developing Covid-19 in larger, phase three trials. Those shouldn't be long in coming - BioCentury has a graphic of the current advanced-trial vaccine landscape here, and they (and others) expect to hear from both the AZ/Oxford team and J&J's single-dose trial in December.

That could be a nod to revelations that the Pfizer vaccine, which is based on leading-edge technology and has already completed trials, needs to be kept at around minus 70 degrees Celsius, which could make storing and transporting it hard, particularly in developing countries.

However, he warned, "the virus will fight back" against vaccination efforts and could create "vaccine escape mutants" including more virulent strains. This is important because vaccines often don't work as well in older people, Pollard said.

At press conferences in recent days the government said final Phase 3 trials to assess the efficacy and safety of the vaccine were still ongoing in Brazil, Indonesia and Turkey.

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Preliminary results of phase I/II human clinical trials in adults demonstrated that the vaccine candidate is well-tolerated and generated neutralizing antibodies and cellular immune responses against the spike glycoprotein.

"It was also quite clear that two doses of vaccine are better than one dose".

According to a report by the BBC, two weeks after the volunteers were administered a second dose, more than 99 percent of them had neutralising antibody responses regardless of age.

No serious adverse health events related to the vaccine were seen in the participants and older people were found to have fewer side effects (such as fatigue and muscle ache) than younger participants. Volunteers received 2 doses of the vaccine ChAdOx1 nCoV-19, or a placebo MenACWY vaccine.

In contrast, vaccines developed by Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna use a new technology called synthetic messenger RNA to activate the immune system against the virus and require far colder storage.

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This could be used to help the vulnerable to build immunity and be more protected before vaccines can be rolled out to everyone worldwide.

Promising news, but we don't know if the Oxford vaccine is a Christmas cracker yet.

It's like shaking the present before we've been able to open it - a good hint the vaccine will be just what we've always wanted, but it's not the proof we need.

"It would be tragic to throw that opportunity away.by trying to return to normality over the holidays".

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