Tuesday, 11 August 2020
Scientists at Oxford University close in on Covid-19 vaccine Pixabay

Scientists at Oxford University close in on Covid-19 vaccine

By  Jul 20, 2020

ChAdOx1 nCoV-19, not really a name that rolls off the tongue, however it could be one that becomes part of daily life. This rather long and complicated abbreviation is the name given to a vaccine for Covid-19 that Oxford University has been developing since January, and the first trials have shown that the vaccine is safe.

The studies involved 1,077 people and showed that the vaccine helped to produce antibodies and T-cells that are able to fight the Covid-19 virus, reports the BBC.

Of course, it is too early to say whether the vaccine is sufficient for protection, but the findings are very promising. The UK has already ordered 100 million doses of the vaccine.

The vaccine was named ChAdOx1 nCoV-19. It is evolving at an unprecedented rate. It is made from a virus that causes colds in chimpanzees, writes the BBC.

The virus has been severely altered so that it cannot infect humans and resembles the coronavirus as much as possible. This means that the vaccine mimics it and that the immune system can ‘learn’ how to attack it.

The study found that 90 percent of people developed neutralizing antibodies after a single dose. Only ten people received two doses and all produced neutralizing antibodies.

Most research deals with antibodies, but they are only one element of the human immune system. Antibodies are tiny proteins produced by the immune system that stick to the surface of the virus and can disable it.

T-cells, a type of white blood cell, help coordinate the immune system by spotting which cells in the body are being attacked and destroying them.

Almost all effective vaccines include both antibodies and T cells. In a study by experts from Oxford, the number of T-cells jumped by 14 days and the number of antibodies 28 days after vaccination.

The vaccine is safe, but there are side effects, which are not dangerous. Fever or headache was developed by 70 percent of people. These side effects, scientists say, can be addressed with paracetamol.

“There’s still a lot of work to be done before we confirm that our vaccine will help fight the pandemic, but these results are promising,” said Sarah Gilbert of Oxford University.

The vaccine will certainly not be widely used for months to come, but according to what we have been able to see so far, important steps have been taken in the direction of the coronavirus vaccine, writes the BBC. Adding that “More than 10,000 people will take part in the next stage of the trials in the UK.”


The Voice of Dubrovnik


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