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Powerful immune response to coronavirus vaccine, study finds

Powerful immune response to coronavirus vaccine, study finds

A coronavirus vaccine provokes a powerful response from the body’s immune system to fight the virus, Oxford researchers have found.

The University of Oxford study found it provoked a response in T cells, which can attack cells infected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus, within 14 days of vaccination.

It also provoked a response in antibodies, which can neutralise the virus so it cannot infect cells, within 28 days of vaccination.

All recipients’ blood showed neutralising activity against the coronavirus with the strongest responses among 10 who had two doses. Trials are continuing.

The project has received £84m in government funding and UK recruitment is being led by the NIHR Clinical Research Network Thames Valley and South Midlands.

Professor Andrew Pollard, trial co-author and chief investigator, said: “We saw the strongest immune response in the 10 participants who received two doses of the vaccine, indicating that this might be a good strategy for vaccination.”

The results of the Phase I/II trial, published today in scientific journal The Lancet, indicate no early safety concerns.

The next step is to confirm that the vaccine can effectively protect against infection.

The university is working with global biopharmaceutical company AstraZeneca on the development, manufacture and distribution of the vaccine.

Mene Pangalos, Executive Vice President of BioPharmaceuticals Research and Development at AstraZeneca, said: “While there is more work to be done, today’s data increases our confidence that the vaccine will work and allows us to continue our plans to manufacture the vaccine at scale for broad and equitable access around the world.”

The phase I/II trial began in April in more than 1,000 healthy adult volunteers aged 18 to 55 who received the trial vaccine or a placebo MenACWY vaccine

Phase III testing is continuing around the world, including up to 10,260 healthy adults and children at participating UK sites.

Read more at the University of Oxford website.