Oxford Vaccine Demonstrates 70% Protection Against SARS-CoV-2

The Sars-CoV-2 vaccine developed by the University of Oxford demonstrated average efficacy of 70.4%, according to results of clinical trials.

The interim analysis of phase 2/3 trials in the UK and Brazil found efficacy of 62% following two full doses given at least one month apart.

However, vaccine efficacy was 90% when ChAdOx1 nCoV-19, also known as AZD1222, was given to a subset of participants as a half dose, followed by a full dose at least one month later.

No hospitalisations or severe cases of the disease were reported in participants who received the vaccine, Oxford’s partner AstraZeneca said in a press release this morning.

The data also suggested a half dose and full dose regime could help to prevent transmission of the virus, according to a press release from the University of Oxford.

Sarah Gilbert, professor of vaccinology at Oxford, said: “The announcement today takes us another step closer to the time when we can use vaccines to bring an end to the devastation caused by SARS-CoV-2.”

The announcement follows promising interim data from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna, which recently demonstrated protection of around 95% against developing COVID-19 with their messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccines

However, the Oxford vaccine is cheaper to produce, and unlike the other vaccines that require a demanding cold chain storage, can be kept at standard refrigerator temperatures of between 2C and 8C.

‘Exciting’ News

Prof Andrew Pollard, director of the Oxford Vaccine Group, said: “These findings show that we have an effective vaccine that will save many lives.

Excitingly, we’ve found that one of our dosing regimens may be around 90% effective and if this dosing regime is used, more people could be vaccinated with planned vaccine supply.”

Asked why giving a half dose followed by a full dose appeared to be more effective, Prof Pollard told a briefing hosted by the Science Media Centre: “We think that by giving a smaller first dose that we’re priming the immune system differently, we’re setting it up better to respond.”

He added: “What we don’t know at this moment is whether that difference is in the quality or the quantity of the immune response, and that’s something we are doing to be digging into.”

Pascal Soriot, AstraZeneca’s chief executive Officer, said using a halved first dose and a standard second dose would mean “we can vaccinate more people, faster”.

AstraZeneca Prepares to Seek Regulatory Approval

The company said it would immediately prepare regulatory submission of the data to authorities around the world.

Trial results will be submitted to a scientific journal for peer review.

The pooled analysis included data from the COV002 Phase 2/3 trial in the UK and COV003 phase 3 trial in Brazil, and involved more than 23,000 participants.

Dr Zania Stamataki, viral immunologist at the University of Birmingham, commented: ” People will be tempted to compare efficacy between the different vaccines but we must remember that these are early data designed to achieve approval. Efficacy is not the same as effectiveness and the early numbers

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Vaccine hopes rise as Oxford jab prompts immune response among old as well as young adults

LONDON (Reuters) – One of the world’s leading COVID-19 experimental vaccines produces a immune response in both young and old adults, raising hopes of a path out of the gloom and economic destruction wrought by the novel coronavirus.

The vaccine, developed by the University of Oxford, also triggers lower adverse responses among the elderly, British drug maker AstraZeneca Plc, which is helping manufacture the vaccine, said on Monday.

A vaccine that works is seen as a game-changer in the battle against the novel coronavirus, which has killed more than 1.15 million people, shuttered swathes of the global economy and turned normal life upside down for billions of people.

“It is encouraging to see immunogenicity responses were similar between older and younger adults and that reactogenicity was lower in older adults, where the COVID-19 disease severity is higher,” an AstraZeneca spokesman said.

“The results further build the body of evidence for the safety and immunogenicity of AZD1222,” the spokesman said, referring to the technical name of the vaccine.

The Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine is expected to be one of the first from big pharma to secure regulatory approval, along with Pfizer and BioNTech’s candidate, as the world tries to plot a path out of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The news that older people get an immune response from the vaccine is positive because the immune system weakens with age and older people are those most at risk of dying from the virus.

If it works, a vaccine would allow the world to return to some measure of normality after the tumult of the pandemic.

British Health Secretary Matt Hancock said a vaccine was not yet ready but he was preparing logistics for a possible roll out mostly in the first half of 2021.

FILE PHOTO: A test tube labeled with the vaccine is seen in front of AstraZeneca logo in this illustration taken, September 9, 2020. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/File Photo/File Photo

Asked if some people could receive a vaccine this year he told the BBC: “I don’t rule that out but that is not my central expectation.”

“The programme is progressing well, (but) we’re not there yet,” Hancock said.

COMMON COLD VIRUS

Work began on the Oxford vaccine in January. Called AZD1222 or ChAdOx1 nCoV-19, the viral vector vaccine is made from a weakened version of a common cold virus that causes infections in chimpanzees.

The chimpanzee cold virus has been genetically changed to include the genetic sequence of the so-called spike protein which the coronavirus uses to gain entry to human cells. The hope is that the human body will then attack the novel coronavirus if it sees it again.

Immunogenicity blood tests carried out on a subset of older participants echo data released in July which showed the vaccine generated “robust immune responses” in a group of healthy adults aged between 18 and 55, the Financial Times reported earlier.

Details of the finding are expected to be published shortly in a clinical journal, the FT said. It did not name the publication.

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Oxford COVID-19 vaccine prompts immune response among adults old and young, AstraZeneca says

LONDON (Reuters) – The COVID-19 vaccine being developed by the University of Oxford produces a similar immune response in both older and younger adults, and adverse responses were lower among the elderly, British drug maker AstraZeneca Plc AZN.L said on Monday.

FILE PHOTO: A test tube labeled with the vaccine is seen in front of AstraZeneca logo in this illustration taken, September 9, 2020. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/File Photo/File Photo

A vaccine that works is seen as a game-changer in the battle against the novel coronavirus, which has killed more than 1.15 million people, hammered the global economy and shuttered normal life across the world.

“It is encouraging to see immunogenicity responses were similar between older and younger adults and that reactogenicity was lower in older adults, where the COVID-19 disease severity is higher,” an AstraZeneca spokesman told Reuters.

“The results further build the body of evidence for the safety and immunogenicity of AZD1222,” the spokesman said, referring to the technical name of the vaccine.

The news that older people get an immune response from the vaccine is positive because the immune system weakens with age and older people are those most at risk of dying from the virus.

The Financial Times reported earlier that the vaccine, being developed by Oxford and AstraZeneca, triggers protective antibodies and T-cells in older age groups – among those most at risk from the virus.

The Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine is expected to be one of the first from big pharma to secure regulatory approval, along with Pfizer PFE.N and BioNTech’s 22UAy.F candidate.

If it works, a vaccine would allow the world to return to some measure of normality after the tumult of the pandemic.

Immunogenicity blood tests carried out on a subset of older participants echo data released in July which showed the vaccine generated “robust immune responses” in a group of healthy adults aged between 18 and 55, the Financial Times reported.

Details of the finding are expected to be published shortly in a clinical journal, the FT said. It did not name the publication.

OXFORD VACCINE

British Health Secretary Matt Hancock said a vaccine was not yet ready though he was preparing logistics for a possible roll out.

“I would expect the bulk of the roll out to be in the first half of next year,” Hancock told the BBC.

Asked if some people could receive a vaccine this year he told the BBC: “I don’t rule that out but that is not my central expectation.”

“We want to be ready in case everything goes perfectly but it’s not my central expectation that we’ll be doing that this year, but the programme is progressing well, we’re not there yet,” Hancock said.

Called AZD1222 or ChAdOx1 nCoV-19, the vaccine was developed by Oxford University scientists and licensed to AstraZeneca in April, which took on the task of scaling trials and production.

The vaccine is likely to provide protection for about a year, CEO Pascal Soriot said in June.

The British drugmaker has signed several supply and

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Britain partners with Oxford firm to assess coronavirus vaccine T cell responses

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain on Thursday said it would partner with an Oxford-based firm to provide testing for the T cell response of coronavirus vaccine candidates to try to assess their immune responses.

T cell immunity is thought to be essential to protection against infection from the SARS-COV-2 coronavirus, and could provide longer term immunity than antibodies.

The UK Vaccine Taskforce has chosen Oxford Immunotec to supply T cell testing for its assessment of different vaccine candidates.

“It is important to be able to assess the different vaccines head-to-head and the T cell response is part of our portfolio of accredited assays that we are employing for cross comparisons,” Kate Bingham, chair of the UK Vaccines Taskforce, said in a statement.

Britain has signed supply deals for six different coronavirus vaccine candidates, including those being made by AstraZeneca <AZN.L> and Pfizer <PFE.N> and BioNTech <22UAy.F>, seen as among the frontrunners in the race for a vaccine.

Oxford Immunotec said its techonology platform enabled the centralisation of fresh blood samples from different locations to measure the T cell response in a standardised way.

It said the platform, known as T-SPOT, was being used to identify the T cells made in response to the pathogen that causes tuberculosis.

(Reporting by Alistair Smout; editing by Barbara Lewis)

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Coronavirus vaccine: Oxford AstraZeneca trial volunteer dies in Brazil

The Brazilian newspaper O Globo, citing unnamed sources, reported that the volunteer was in a control group that did not receive the experimental vaccine and died of covid-19. The news service G1 said the volunteer was a 28-year-old physician who treated coronavirus patients in Rio de Janeiro.

The National Health Surveillance Agency said it was informed of the volunteer’s death Monday. The agency said AstraZeneca’s international safety committee had recommended the trial continue.

Under the trial’s protocol, half the participants receive the experimental vaccine, and half receive an established meningitis vaccine that has been proved safe. The trial, like others, is overseen by an independent board that reviews all adverse events. Any severe event that might have been caused by the vaccine would trigger a pause in the study for an investigation. The trial is not paused due to the death.

A spokesman for AstraZeneca said he could not comment on individual cases in an ongoing trial, citing confidentiality requirements and clinical trial rules. But he said there were no concerns that would lead the study to pause.

“We can confirm that all required review processes have been followed,” spokesman Brendan McEvoy said. “All significant medical events are carefully assessed by trial investigators, an independent safety monitoring committee and the regulatory authorities. These assessments have not led to any concerns about continuation of the ongoing study.”

Oxford confirmed that the volunteer’s death was reviewed by an independent committee.

“Following careful assessment of this case in Brazil, there have been no concerns about safety of the clinical trial, and the independent review in addition to the Brazilian regulator have recommended that the trial should continue,” the university said in a statement.

The trial was suspended last month after a participant developed an unexplained illness. AstraZeneca has since resumed trials in Brazil, India, South Africa, Japan and Britain. It remains on hold in the United States.

In the global race for a vaccine, Brazil, which has been battered by the disease but has a long-standing openness to vaccines, has become one of the most crucial testing grounds. The country is hosting four vaccine trials — as many as anywhere in the world.

Brazil has watched vaccine development closely as the virus continues to lash the country. The official toll is now more than 5 million infections and over 150,000 deaths, second only to the United States. But as the tests near their conclusions, the issue of vaccinating people has become just one more issue for politicians to argue over.

São Paulo Gov. João Doria has said state health workers will begin receiving a Chinese vaccine before the end of the year. Other groups will then follow. Doria has said the vaccine will be obligatory in Brazil’s most populous state.

President Jair Bolsonaro, who has spent months touting the unvetted and potentially harmful anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine as a coronavirus cure, has been deeply suspicious of vaccines. He says the vaccine will not be mandatory, even though a law he signed

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Volunteer In Oxford Covid Vaccine Test Dies In Brazil: Officials

A volunteer participating in clinical trials of the Covid-19 vaccine developed by Oxford University has died in Brazil, officials said Wednesday, though it was unclear whether he received the vaccine or a placebo.

It is the first death reported in the various coronavirus vaccine trials taking place worldwide.

However, organizers of the study said an independent review had concluded there were no safety concerns and that testing of the vaccine, developed with pharmaceutical firm AstraZeneca, would continue.

Media reports said the volunteer was a 28-year-old doctor working on the front lines of the pandemic who died of complications from Covid-19.

“All significant medical incidents, whether participants are in the control group or the Covid-19 vaccine group, are independently reviewed,” Oxford said in a statement.

“Following careful assessment of this case in Brazil, there have been no concerns about safety of the clinical trial, and the independent review in addition to the Brazilian regulator have recommended that the trial should continue.”

National health regulator Anvisa confirmed it had been “formally notified of the case on October 19” and had received a report on the independent review from the security and evaluation committee overseeing the study.

The D’Or Teaching and Research Institute (IDOR), which is helping organize the tests in Brazil, said the independent review process had “raised no doubts about the safety of the study, and recommended it continue.”

A clinical trial of a vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University will continue despite the death of a volunteer in Brazil, as a review did not reveal safety concerns A clinical trial of a vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University will continue despite the death of a volunteer in Brazil, as a review did not reveal safety concerns Photo: AFP / Vincenzo PINTO

Oxford and AstraZeneca previously had to suspend testing of the vaccine in September when a volunteer in Britain developed an unexplained illness.

Trials resumed after British regulators and an independent review concluded the illness was not a side effect of the vaccine.

Half the volunteers in the final-stage clinical trial — a double-blind, randomized, controlled study — receive a placebo, IDOR said.

Around 8,000 volunteers have been vaccinated so far in Brazil, and more than 20,000 worldwide, it said.

Study participants must be doctors, nurses or other health sector workers who come into regular contact with the virus.

Brazilian newspaper Globo said the deceased volunteer was a young doctor who had been treating Covid-19 patients since March in the emergency rooms and intensive care units at two hospitals in Rio de Janeiro.

He graduated from medical school last year, and was in good health prior to contracting the disease, family and friends told the newspaper.

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