Where are we in the race for a Covid-19 vaccine?

By Our Reporter
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Oxford scientist Andrew Pollard, whose company is the closest to a finish explains

Director of the Oxford Vaccine Group Andrew Pollard and his team are probably the closest to providing a safe vaccine against the Coronavirus. “The way the vaccine works is rather similar to most of the other vaccines in development. What we are trying to do is induce immune responses to spike protein,” he said in a recent interview. “We are trying to make neutralising antibodies, which bind on to spike proteins and stop the virus being able to get into our cells and cause infection,” he explained.

Data on Oxford’s vaccine was published in the Lancet this week.

The vaccine induces a type of white blood cell called T-cells, which are able to destroy cells infected by the virus, which might halt the infection. “We now need to find out whether those immune responses are enough to protect people from infection,” he said.

The data in Lancet was published from Phase 1, but the company is now in Phase 3 trials, with more than 10,000 people around the world getting vaccinated.

With regard to the vaccines being developed across the world for COVID-19, Pollard said it is good news. “All we can say right now is that we are seeing immune responses that are better after a second dose. They are also not so bad after a first dose. We do not know if those are enough for protection, which is why we have to do these trials.”


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