An experimental vaccine being developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University against the new coronavirus produced an immune response in early-stage clinical trials, data showed on Monday, preserving hopes it could be in use by the end of the year.
The vaccine, called AZD1222, has been described by the World Health Organization’s chief scientist as the leading candidate in a global race to halt a pandemic that has killed more than 600,000 people. More than 150 possible vaccines are in various stages of development, and U.S. drugmaker Pfizer and China’s CanSino Biologics also reported positive responses for their candidates on Monday.
The vaccine from AstraZeneca and Britain’s University of Oxford prompted no serious side effects and elicited antibody and T-cell immune responses, according to trial results published in The Lancet medical journal, with the strongest response seen in people who received two doses. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, whose government has helped fund the project, hailed the results as “very positive news” though the researchers cautioned the project was still at an early stage.
“There is still much work to be done before we can confirm if our vaccine will help manage the COVID-19 pandemic,” vaccine developer Sarah Gilbert said. —Agencies