COVID-19 Vaccine Boost As Trials On Monkeys Show It Stops Virus Reaching Lungs: The experimental vaccine by the team at the University of Oxford also said that the vaccinated monkey all produced coronavirus antibodies within 28 days of receiving the jab
The race to find a vaccine for coronavirus has been boosted after trials of a jab created by scientists in Britain has showed promising signs during trials on monkeys.
The experimental vaccine by the team at the University of Oxford strengthened the immune system in six rhesus macaques without causing any side effects.
After 28 days all of the animals had Covid-19 antibodies which is normally produced by survivor of the virus to give them some immunity from the killer bug in the future, Mail Online reports.
Researchers said the monkeys were able to fight off the virus before managed to get deep into their lungs, where it can be fatal.
A single vaccine was found to also be effective in preventing damage to the lungs of mice too.
Some of the animals showed antibodies to the virus within two weeks and all within 28 days.
The news comes as human trials of the Oxford University vaccine are already underway with results expected within a month.
Scientists say the findings are ‘very encouraging’ but issued a warning that it does not mean it have the same outcome in humans.
The researchers found viral loads in the lower respiratory system were significantly reduced after the monkeys and mice were vaccinated.
This suggests the jab prevents coronavirus from multiplying and spreading deep in the lungs.
Stephen Evans, an epidemiologist at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, said the results were ‘good news’.
Dr Penny Ward, professor of pharmaceutical medicine at King’s College London, added: ‘It is helpful to see that monkeys vaccinated with this SARS-CoV-2 vaccine did not have any evidence of enhanced lung pathology and that, despite some evidence of upper respiratory tract infection by SARS COV2 after high viral load virus challenge, monkeys given the vaccine did not have any evidence of pneumonia.
“These results support the ongoing clinical trial of the vaccine in humans, the results of which are eagerly awaited.”
Developing vaccinations usually takes months or even years but researchers across the globe are racing to create one as soon as possible – including two teams in the UK.
They say their mission is easier because Covid-19 is not mutating and is similar to other viruses seen in the past.
In addition to researches in Oxford University starting human trials last month a team from Imperial College London are due to start a human trial next month.
While the Oxford vaccine tries to stimulate the immune system using a common cold virus taken from chimps, the team at Imperial are using droplets of liquid to carry the genetic material needed to get enter the bloodstream.
Professor Sir John Bell, regius professor of medicine at Oxford University, said that ‘several hundred’ people have been vaccinated and results are expected by June.
The 67-year-old told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that once it’s approved the challenge will be to manufacture it to a big enough quantity..
He said: “We also want to make sure that the rest of the world will be ready to make this vaccine at scale so that it gets to populations in developing countries, for example, where the need is very great.
“We really need a partner to do that and that partner has a big job in the UK because our manufacturing capacity in the UK for vaccines isn’t where it needs to be, and so we are going to work together with AstraZeneca to improve that considerably.”
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