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Coronavirus (Covid-19) vaccine status check: Scientists mull vaccine as nasal spray; Oxford jab by October

Coronavirus (Covid-19) Vaccine Latest Update: Oxford University, China's Sinopharm starts phase-3 trials of Covid-19 vaccine; Imperial College London begins human tests

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi |
Updated: June 25, 2020 7:31:15 pm
Coronavirus, Coronavirus vaccine, covid-19 vaccine, Coronavirus vaccine china, china Coronavirus vaccine, Coronavirus vaccine trials, Coronavirus vacine human trials A scientist inputs data for automatic product diafiltration during the research and development of a vaccine against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) at a laboratory of BIOCAD biotechnology company in Saint Petersburg. (Reuters)

Coronavirus (Covid-19) Vaccine Latest Update: Even though pharmaceutical companies have launched generic versions of Remdesivir and Favipiravir for Covid-19 treatment, which help in reducing the viral load, a proven cure for the novel coronavirus is still elusive. However, if University of Oxford is to be believed, a top scientist has said its experimental Covid-19 vaccine is on track for release in October.

Besides Oxford University, China National Biotec Group (CNBG) has also kicked off phase-3 clinical trials in the United Arab Emirates of its inactivated Covid-19 vaccine candidate.

The developments come with the pace of vaccine trials accelerating with each passing week even as worldwide Covid-19 cases cross 9.39 million, including 4,81,000 deaths. Moreover, parts of the US are witnessing a resurgence of Covid-19, with the nation recording a one-day total of 34,700 new cases, the highest in two months, according to the Johns Hopkins University.

Coronavirus (Covid-19) vaccines status check, latest updates

💉 Oxford-AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine status

Oxford University has started phase III trials of its ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 vaccine, developed together with pharmaceuticals group AstraZeneca, even as a top scientist exuded confidence that the jab would be rolled out by October.

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Professor Adrian Hill, the director of the Jenner Institute at the University of Oxford, told a webinar of the Spanish Society of Rheumatology that the “best scenario” would see results from “clinical trials in August and September and deliveries from October”, a report in The Telegraph (UK) said.

“This vaccine has shown very good results in trials with chimpanzees, and has already moved on to the next phase of human trials,” Hill told the webinar.

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Moreover, research by Britain’s Pirbright Institute revealed that a study in pigs has found that two doses of the Oxford vaccine produced a greater antibody response than a single dose.

Meanwhile, a resident from Soweto has become the first South African to be injected with the Oxford vaccine in phase III testing. Mhlongo (24), is one of about 2,000 South Africans who will take part in the international study.

The South African participants will be joined by 5,000 in Brazil, 4,000 in the UK, with an additional 10,000 participants planned, and up to 30,000 expected to be enrolled in the US. On Tuesday, Brazil’s acting health minister, Eduardo Pazuello, said that the country was close to signing a deal to be able to produce Oxford’s vaccine domestically.

💉 Sinopharm coronavirus vaccine status

China National Biotec Group (CNBG), an affiliate of the state-owned Sinopharm, has become the first Chinese vaccine developer to proceed towards a phase III trial.

The group has won approval to run a large-scale phase III clinical trial of its inactivated vaccine candidate in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Reuters quoted the company as saying. CNBG said it would tie up with Abu Dhabi-based artificial intelligence and cloud computing firm G42 to carry out the trial and local production of the vaccine.

CNBG has developed two potential vaccines that have together been given to over 2,000 people in previous tests in China. In phase I and II clinical trials, results showed a good safety record and no severe adverse reactions were found.

Explained: How close are we to a COVID-19 vaccine? What’s the process for testing?

💉 Imperial College London coronavirus vaccine status

After tests in animals suggested that its vaccine candidate was safe and triggered an effective immune response, Imperial College London has begun human trials. On June 24, the first healthy volunteer was dosed with its vaccine developed using self-amplifying RNA (saRNA) technology.

In the initial stage of the trial, 15 healthy volunteers are receiving the vaccine. About 300 people will be vaccinated over the coming weeks as part of the trial led by Professor Robin Shattock and Imperial researchers.

Imperial’s RNA vaccine uses synthetic strands of genetic code based on the genetic material of Sars-CoV-2. It works by delivering genetic instructions to muscle cells to make the “spike” protein on the surface of the virus. The presence of this protein provokes an immune response.

If the vaccine is safe and shows promising immune response, a further trial involving 6,000 people is expected to go ahead in October, a statement by Imperial College said.

Novavax starts Phase 1 clinical trial of coronavirus vaccine candidate Coronavirus (Covid-19) Vaccine Latest Update: A pharmacist gives a volunteer the first shot in the first-stage safety study clinical trial of a potential vaccine for COVID-19 in Seattle (AP)

💉 Mucosal vaccination for Covid-19

In an interesting statement, Oxford University and Imperial College London scientists have said a coronavirus vaccine may be more effective as a nasal spray or inhaler, a report in The Daily Mail said.

Since the coronavirus attacks the respiratory tract, scientists believe getting the vaccine directly into the lungs may be the best way to protect people.

“With oral or nasal you would have much stronger mucosal response. We’re very interested in looking at delivery to the respiratory tract, either intranasal delivery (via a nasal spray) or aerosol delivery (using an inhaler),” Sarah Gilbert, professor of vaccinology at Oxford University, told The Daily Mail.

Mucosal vaccinations may be a more effective way of protecting elderly people because it directly strengthens the lungs, the scientists said.

Mucous membranes are protective layers of tissue that line the surfaces of lungs and respiratory tract. They also coat entry points such as the nose and mouth, catching pathogens that try to get into the body.

By administering a vaccine at the entry points, it trains the mucosa to be able to identify Covid-19 and block it from getting through.

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