Two coronavirus vaccine candidates have proven safe for humans and produced strong immune reactions among patients involved in separate clinical trials, doctors said yesterday.
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.
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.
The authors of the studies said that they encountered 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 said the results “hold promise”.
“If our vaccine is effective, it is a promising option as these types of vaccine can be manufactured at large scale.”
UK SIGNS UP FOR 90M DOSES
Britain has secured access to 90 million doses of potential coronavirus vaccines in deals with biotech firms BioNTech, Pfizer and Valneva, the government said yesterday.
Business Secretary Alok Sharma said Britain would now have access to three different types of vaccines being developed domestically and around the world, and it had also launched a website for volunteers to sign up for vaccine studies.
“The hunt to find a vaccine is a truly global endeavour and we are doing everything we can to ensure the British public get access to a safe and effective coronavirus vaccine as soon as possible,” said Sharma.
The deals involve 30 million doses of a vaccine being developed by BioNTech and German firm Pfizer, and 60 million doses of another created by France’s Valneva.
The government has already said it would purchase 100 million doses of a vaccine currently being trialled by Oxford University in partnership with AstraZeneca.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he was “hopeful” of a vaccine, “but to say that I’m 100 percent confident that we will get a vaccine this year or indeed next year is, alas, just an exaggeration.”
“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 “our best hope of defeating coronavirus and returning to life as normal.
“I urge everyone who can to back the national effort and sign up to the NHS Covid-19 vaccine research registry to help find a vaccine as soon as possible.”