AstraZeneca's experimental Covid-19 vaccine was safe and produced an immune response in early-stage clinical trials in healthy volunteers, data showed.
LONDON, July 20 (Reuters) – AstraZeneca’s
experimental Covid-19 vaccine was safe and produced an immune
response in early-stage clinical trials in healthy volunteers,
data showed on Monday, with the strongest response seen in
people who received two doses.
The vaccine, called AZD1222 and being developed by
AstraZeneca and scientists at Britain’s University of Oxford,
did not prompt any serious side effects and elicited antibody
and T-cell immune responses, according to trial results
published in The Lancet medical journal.
“There is still much work to be done before we can confirm
if our vaccine will help manage the Covid-19 pandemic, but these
early results hold promise,” vaccine developer Sarah Gilbert
“We still do not know how strong an immune response we need
to provoke to effectively protect against SARS-CoV-2 infection.”
Gilbert said researchers needed to learn more about Covid-19
and continue late stage trials which have already commenced.
AstraZeneca shares spiked higher, but then gave up some
gains, to last trade up 0.4% on the day.
AstraZeneca’s is among the leading vaccine candidates
against a pandemic that has claimed more than 600,000 lives,
alongside others in mid and late-stage trials.
These include shots being developed by China’s Sinovac
Biotech, another from state-owned Chinese firm
Sinopharm, and one from the U.S. biotech firm Moderna.
AstraZeneca has signed agreements with governments around
the world to supply the vaccine should it prove effective and
gain regulatory approval. The company has said it will not seek
to profit from the vaccine during the pandemic.
Researchers said the vaccine caused minor side effects more
frequently than a control group, but some of these could be
reduced by taking paracetamol, with no serious adverse events
from the vaccine.
AZD1222 was developed by Oxford university and licensed to
AstraZeneca, which has put it into large-scale, late-stage
trials to test its efficacy. It has also already signed deals to
produce and supply over 2 billion doses of the shot.
The new trial included 1,077 healthy adults aged 18-55 years
with no history of Covid-19.
“Today’s data increases our confidence that the vaccine will
work and allows us to continue our plans to manufacture the
vaccine at scale for broad and equitable access around the
world,” said Mene Pangalos, Executive Vice President of
BioPharmaceuticals Research and Development at AstraZeneca.
(Reporting by Alistair Smout; additional reporting by Pushkala
Aripaka and Kate Kelland; Editing by Edmund Blair and Mark