A coronavirus vaccine the University of Oxford is developing with AstraZeneca Plc showed promising results in early human testing, and is now set to move into larger trials that are likely to be decisive on how effective they truly are.
The vaccine increased levels of both protective neutralizing antibodies and immune T-cells that target the virus, according to the study organizers. The results, published Monday in The Lancet medical journal, are a key milestone for one of the fastest-moving vaccine projects globally.
“Our hope is that we can actually start delivering a vaccine before the end of the year,” AstraZeneca Chief Executive Officer Pascal Soriot said on a call. “We’re working as quickly as we can but of course there are things you cannot control.”
The Phase 1 human trial, which took place between April 23 and May 21, involved 1,077 healthy adults aged 18 to 55 with no history of Covid-19.
A control group were given a meningitis vaccine as a placebo and 10 participants received two doses of the shot one month apart. The vaccine caused minor side effects, which could be reduced by taking paracetamol.
There were no serious adverse events from the jab.
Most of the participants in the study received a single dose of vaccine. Astra will prioritize a two-shot regimen in future testing, said Adrian Hill, head of Oxford’s Jenner Institute, in an interview.
A single dose of Oxford vaccine resulted in a four-fold increase in antibodies to the virus’s spike protein in 95% of participants one month after injection, AstraZeneca said in a statement.