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UK pharma body says COVID-19 vaccine may still be many months away

UK pharma body says COVID-19 vaccine may still be many months away

20 July 2020
Image: Dimitri Houtteman

A COVID-19 vaccine being developed by Oxford University and AstraZeneca has generated an immune response in a study of roughly 1,000 patients, according to interim results.

The Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) has responded to the results of the Oxford - AstraZeneca vaccine trial.

A Covid-19 vaccine being developed by Oxford University and AstraZeneca has generated an immune response in a study of roughly 1,000 patients, according to interim results. 

The results of the Phase I/II trial published today in the scientific journal, The Lancet, indicate no early safety concerns and induces strong immune responses in both parts of the immune system. 

The vaccine provoked a T cell response within 14 days of vaccination and an antibody response within 28 days.

During the study participants who received the vaccine had detectable neutralising antibodies, which have been suggested by researchers as important for protection, and these responses were strongest after a booster dose, with 100% of participants blood having neutralising activity against the coronavirus. The next step in studying the vaccine is to confirm that it can effectively protect against SARS-CoV-2 infection. 

Speaking about the trial results, ABPI Chief Executive, Dr Richard Torbett, said: “All over the world, pharmaceutical companies are working in partnership in the search for an effective Covid-19 vaccine and today’s announcement of progress in the UK is extremely positive.

Developing a vaccine is an incredibly difficult challenge; the fact that there are multiple candidates in development is hopefully a sign that the hard work will ultimately pay off.

But we must be patient. Proving that a vaccine is safe and effective is a long process and we could still be many months away.”

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