Picture for illustration purposes only.
PHOTO BY ARCHIVE
CHINA – A Covid-19 vaccine tested for the first time in humans appears safe, researchers at China’s CanSino Biologics Inc. told The Lancet medical journal.
Blood samples from a group of 108 adults vaccinated with the new Adenovirus Type 5VCectored Covid-19 (Ad5-nCoV) showed antibodies and T-cell responses against Covid-19 in most of those tested. A T-cell is a type of white blood cell that is of key importance to the immune system.
Researchers said that further studies are still needed to confirm that the vaccine works.
“These results represent an important milestone. The trial demonstrates that a single dose of the new Adenovirus type 5 Vectored Covid-19 (Ad5-nCoV) vaccine produces virus-specific antibodies and T-cells in 14 days, making it a potential candidate for further investigation,” co-author Professor Wei Chen from the Beijing Institute of Biotechnology in Beijing said in a statement.
“However … the ability to trigger these immune responses does not necessarily indicate that the vaccine will protect humans from Covid-19 … we are still a long way from this vaccine being available to all,” Chen said.
Currently, there are more than 100 vaccines in development, with 12 in human testing phase.
For Ad5-nCoV, researchers tested on healthy adult volunteers in Wuhan, China, the epicenter of the new coronavirus that was first reported there in December, 2019.
According to reports, those who received the vaccine did not have serious side effects four weeks after the injection. The mot common reactions were mild pain at the injection site, fever, fatigue, headache and muscle pain.
Meanwhile, medicine-approving agency for the European Union said that a vaccine to counter the new coronavirus could be approved in a year in an “optimistic” scenario.
The European Medicines Agency (EMA), in communication with 33 developers, was doing all it could to speed up the approval process for a Covid-19 vaccine, said EMA’s head of vaccines, Marco Cavaleri.
Cavaleri said, however, that he was sceptical of claims that a coronavirus vaccine could be ready by September.
“For vaccines, since the development has to start from scratch … we might look from an optimistic side in a year from now, so beginning of 2021,” he told journalists.
He ruled out the possibility of skipping the third phase of a vaccine trial, which he said would be needed to be sure a vaccine was safe and effective.
The EMA is also looking at 115 different therapeutics, or treatments, for the coronavirus.
Cavaleri said some of those therapeutics could be approved in Europe as early as this summer, but he did not specify which.
The coronavirus has killed nearly 300,000 people globally, according to World Health Organisation data. In the UAE, the virus has infected more than 21,000 people and killed more than 200 people. DAJ/Expat Media
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