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Oxford COVID-19 vaccine may be available in two months, trial results today


With 1.4 crore people infected by the novel coronavirus disease, the whole world is eagerly waiting for a COVID-19 vaccine. At present, there are more than 150 vaccine candidates to combat the coronavirus in the different stages of trial across the world, according to the World Health Organisation.


One of the most promising vaccine candidates is the one formulated by the University of Oxford. It has shown positive results in the initial trials, according to various reports. The conclusions of the trials are to be published today in The Lancet — a peer-reviewed weekly medical journal. “Tomorrow. Vaccines. Just saying," Richard Horton, the editor of The Lancet tweeted on Sunday.


Officially known as AZD1222, the vaccine candidate has been developed by the Jenner Institute, a part of the Nuffield Department of Medicine at the University of Oxford. The formulation is backed by by AstraZeneca PLC, a British-Swedish pharmaceutical company.


According to media reports, the Jenner Institute's COVID-19 vaccine candidate may provide "double protection" against coronavirus. The vaccine might trigger the production of antibodies and killer T-cells in the body. So there has been a chance that the new vaccine may be able provide immunity against the virus, various reports suggested. Killer T-cells are said to last much longer in the human body as they recognise and kill a virus-infected cell in the body, preventing the infection from growing. However, recent studies have claimed that protective antibodies in COVID-19 patients may wane off within three months.


Moreover, there are reports AstraZeneca-backed COVID-19 vaccine candidate may be available by September. According to a report published in Press Trust of India, David Carpenter, Chairman of the Berkshire Research Ethics Committee, which approved the Oxford trial 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."


According to a source in the trial which shared the information with ‘The Daily Telegraph’, the results are "extremely promising". “I can tell you that we now know the Oxford vaccine covers both bases – it produces both a T cell and an antibody response. 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," said the source.


Oxford COVID-19 vaccine is in phase II/III trial in the UK and has recently gone into phase III trials in South Africa and Brazil. Oxford University earlier said the vaccine will be made available on a “not-for-profit basis for the duration of the coronavirus pandemic".


Serum Institute of India has joined British-Swedish drug maker AstraZenaca to manufacture and supply the vaccine being developed by University of Oxford. The human trial of Oxford vaccine will be started in August in India.


We are working on the AstraZeneca Oxford vaccine which is undergoing phase III clinical trials. Besides, we will also start human trials in India in August 2020. Based on the current situation and most recent updates on the clinical trials, we are hoping that the AstraZeneca Oxford vaccine will be available towards the end of 2020," Adar Poonawalla, chief executive officer, Serum Institute of India said earlier.



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