HOPES for a cure are pinned on a Covid-19 vaccine which is being tested in the US that shows a very promising immune response ahead of a large trial due to take place in a few weeks.
A breakthrough Covid-19 vaccine, tested on 45 healthy adults in March by the National Institutes of Health and Moderna Inc, found an encouraging immune system boost response from the participants, the researchers reported in the New England Journal of Medicine. After the second shot, all the participants developed so-called neutralising antibodies, which can inactivate the virus in lab tests.
More than half the participants had side effects, including fatigue, chills, headaches, muscle aches, and pain at the injection site. Some had a fever. One person who received the low dose developed hives and was withdrawn from the study. None of the side effects was considered serious however.
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The Phase 1 test paves the way for a larger trial of the experimental vaccine on 30,000 people, due to begin in a few weeks, around July 27. Dr Anthony Fauci, the US government’s top infectious disease expert, said, “No matter how you slice this, this is good news.”
More than 140 teams of researchers are racing to develop a safe and effective coronavirus vaccine.
Researchers around the world are racing to develop a vaccine against Covid-19, with more than 140 candidate vaccines now tracked by the World Health Organisation (WHO).
Vaccines normally require years of testing and additional time to produce at scale, but scientists are hoping to develop a coronavirus vaccine within 12 to 18 months.
Vaccines mimic the virus – or part of the virus – they protect against, stimulating the immune system to develop antibodies. They must follow higher safety standards than other drugs because they are given to millions of healthy people – hence the delay.