Reports emerged that positive news will be released soon on AstraZeneca’s experimental COVID-19 vaccine that it is working on with the University of Oxford. The Lancet has also confirmed that data from a phase 1 trial of AZD1222, formerly known as ChAdOx1 nCoV-19, will be published in the medical journal on July 20.
A political editor for the ITV news outlet in the UK, citing an unnamed source, indicated that “positive news” on initial trials of the vaccine could be announced as soon as July 16. Meanwhile, a report in The Telegraph quoted a source as saying results from phase 1 clinical trials are “extremely promising,” while another close to the research team touted the vaccine’s ability to mount a “double defense” against COVID-19.
T-cell and antibody responses
“I can tell you that we now know the Oxford vaccine covers both bases – it produces both a T-cell and an antibody response,” one source is quoted as saying in The Telegraph. “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,” the source added. According to The Telegraph, the initial data also suggest the AZD1222 vaccine is safe with no major side effects. The research team is also evaluating the level of dose needed to produce an effective response.
The reports come a day after an interim analysis showed Moderna’s experimental coronavirus vaccine mRNA-1273 induced anti–SARS-CoV-2 immune responses in all 45 study participants. The findings, which were published this week in the NEJM, indicated that a two-dose vaccination schedule of mRNA-1273 elicited “robust” neutralising antibody titers, and also induced Th1-biased CD4 T-cell responses.
In addition, Moderna’s vaccine candidate was found to be generally safe, with the study authors saying there were “no trial-limiting safety concerns.” After the second vaccination, side effects that occurred in more than half the participants included fatigue, chills, headache and myalgia, as well as pain at the injection site.
Meanwhile, Oxford has already started recruiting for Phase 2/3 testing of AZD1222 in around 10,000 adults. AstraZeneca has also recently reached deals with the US, UK and other countries in Europe to produce hundreds of millions of doses of the vaccine, potentially as early as October.