Martins Ifijeh with agency report
Hopes for a working COVID-19 vaccine are growing as two clinical trials conducted in the United Kingdom and the United States have reported promising results in their early experiments, THISDAY has learnt.
Teams from Oxford University in the UK and the American pharmaceutical company, Moderna, have both revealed that those in their studies are showing signs of immunity against the disease.
The two organisations are among several others working on experimental jabs that would help in protecting people against catching COVID-19 in future.
Oxford scientists have already said they were ‘80 per cent’ confident they can have their jab available by September.
It is believed that people being given the Oxford vaccine have been developing antibodies and white blood cells called T cells, which will help their bodies to fight off the virus if they get infected.
And experts at Moderna based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, US, said participants in their trial of a different type of vaccine all successfully developed antibodies.
The vaccines work by tricking the body into thinking it’s infected with COVID-19 and causing it to produce immune substances that have the ability to destroy it.
While early research focused on antibodies, scientists are increasingly turning to a type of immunity called T cell immunity-which is controlled by white blood cells-and has shown signs of promise.
One source on the Oxford project told ITV News: ”An important point to keep in mind is that there are two dimensions to the immune response-antibodies and T-cells.
‘’Everybody is focused on antibodies but there is a growing body of evidence suggesting that the T-cells response is important in the defence against coronavirus.”
Oxford’s phase three trials are involved around 8,000 people across the UK and up to 6,000 people in Brazil and South Africa, where the jab may be easier to test because more people are infected with the coronavirus there.
The vaccine is being manufactured by AstraZeneca in Cambridge, England, and millions of doses have already been ordered by Number 10 in the hope that it will work.