Human trials of a potential coronavirus vaccine being developed by scientists in Oxford are reported to have shown promising results.
The researchers believe they have made a breakthrough after discovering the jab could provide “double protection” against the virus, the Daily Telegraph reported.
The newspaper said the phase 1 trial in healthy adult volunteers, which began in April, showed the vaccine generated an immune response, with blood samples indicating it stimulated the body to produce both antibodies and “killer T-cells”.
It came as Health Secretary Matt Hancock said teams were working towards a “best-case scenario” of a vaccine being made available some time this year, although he conceded it was more likely in 2021.
David Carpenter, chairman of the Berkshire Research Ethics Committee, which approved the Oxford trial and continues to work with scientists on amendments, told the Telegraph that the team were “absolutely on track”.
“They can strengthen findings by targeting people in hospitals, healthcare professionals, where the spread is [more] likely to happen,” he said.
“Nobody can put final dates… things might go wrong but the reality is that by working with a big pharma company, that vaccine could be fairly widely available around September and that is the sort of target they are working on.
But a source told the newspaper that the results did not yet prove that the Oxford vaccine, known as ChAdOx1 nCoV-19, provides long-lasting immunity.
“I can tell you that we now know the Oxford vaccine covers both bases – it produces both a T cell and an antibody response,” the source said.
“It’s the combination of these two that will hopefully keep people safe. So far, so good. It’s an important moment. But we still have a long way to go.”
Image Credit: Science Focus
Thanks to Heinz V. Hoenen. Follow him on twitter: @HeinzVHoenen