Oxford COVID-19 vaccine welcomed by WHO experts

-large scale trials needed now

DPI, Guyana, Tuesday, July 27, 2020

The World Health Organisation (WHO) on Monday, welcomed new findings from Oxford University researchers on a novel coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine, which triggered an immune response.

However, the organisation noted the findings are still early.

“In generating T-cell responses and generating neutralising antibodies, this is a positive result. But again, there is a long way to go. We now need to move into larger-scale real-world trials,” Dr. Michael Ryan, Executive Director of the WHO’s Health Emergencies Programme, said.

The vaccine, called ChAdOx1 nCoV-19, was tested in 1,077 participants and was said to have produced antibodies and killer T-cells in 90 percent of participants to combat COVID-19.

“It is good news” and that trials must now be expanded to a broader sample size to better test its effectiveness,” Dr. Ryan stated.

Oxford said the next trial will have more than 10,000 participants from the United Kingdom (UK). It will also be expanded to involve persons from the United States of America (30,000), Brazil (5,000) and South Africa (2,000).

‘Challenge Trials’ whereby persons will be deliberately infected with COVID-19 and then vaccinated are also in the pipeline.

According to Dr. Ryan, there are currently twenty-three vaccine candidates in clinical development, and up until Monday, this was the first to produce phase one data that available in a peer-reviewed journal.

The next challenge once a vaccine is proven effective, WHO says, is to ensure there are enough doses globally. However, at this time a vaccine will not be available for all and a method for fair distribution will have to be formulated.

“We are going to have to prioritise who gets what vaccine at the beginning, depending on which vaccine becomes available and we’re going to have to have some policy and priorities around the best use of those vaccines,” Dr. Ryan stated.

He encouraged more countries to join COVAX, an initiative between WHO, Gavi- the vaccine alliance and others to ensure vaccines are fairly distributed globally.



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