Here is what we should be expecting from Oxford University’s COVID-19 vaccine
The findings are immensely promising, but it is still too soon to know if this is enough to offer protection.
A COVID-19 vaccine developed by the University of Oxford appears to be safe and stimulates an immune response.
Trials were performed on 1,077 people. The findings are immensely promising, but it is still too soon to know if this is enough to offer protection. More extensive trials are underway.
The UK has already commanded 100 million doses of the vaccine.
How does the vaccine work?
The vaccine named ‘ChAdOx1 nCoV-19’ is being developed at an unprecedented rate. It has been made from a genetically engineered virus that causes the common cold in chimpanzees.
The vaccine has been heavily modified, so it cannot cause infections in people. It resembles the coronavirus so that the immune system can learn how to attack it.
However, the key question everyone wants to know is whether the vaccine works and offers protection?
The study revealed that 90% of people developed neutralizing antibodies after one dose. Only ten people were given two shots, after which all of them produced neutralizing antibodies.
Professor Andrew Pollard, from the Oxford research group, told the BBC, “We do not know the level needed for protection, but we can maximize responses with a second dose.”
Is it safe?
Yes, but there are side effects.
There were no dangerous side effects from taking the vaccine; however, 70% of people on trial developed fever or headaches. The researchers state this could be controlled with paracetamol.
A Professor from the University of Oxford, Sarah Gilbert, says, “There is still a considerable amount of work that needs to be done before we can confirm if the vaccine will help manage the coronavirus pandemic.”
Next steps in the trial
So far, the results are promising, though the main objective is to guarantee that the vaccine is safe enough to give to people.
The research cannot confirm whether the vaccine can prevent people from becoming ill or even lessen their symptoms.
Around 10,000 people will take part in the next stage of the experiments in the UK.
However, the vaccine trial has also been expanded to other countries because the coronavirus levels are low in the UK, making it difficult to know if the vaccine is effective.
There will be an extensive test involving 30,000 people in the US, 2,000 in South Africa, and 5,000 in Brazil.
When will the vaccine available?
The coronavirus vaccine may be proven effective before the end of this year; however, it will not be widely available.
Widespread vaccination is likely to be available next year, if everything goes to plan.
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