By Yasemin Saplakoglu
One of the leading coronavirus vaccine candidates shows promise in early trials, triggering participants to build up immune cells against the virus without causing any severe reactions, according to results published today.
The vaccine, called ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 and being developed by Oxford University in the United Kingdom, is made up of a weakened version of a common cold virus called an adenovirus that infects chimpanzees, Live Science previously reported. The team genetically altered the virus so that it couldn’t replicate and grow in humans, and they added genes that code for the so-called “spike” proteins that the coronavirus uses to infect human cells, according to the new study. The idea is that the vaccine will teach human immune cells to recognize the spike protein, so that if a person gets exposed to the coronavirus, their immune system can destroy it.
The Oxford team began testing the vaccine on people in April and published early results from their phase 1 and still-ongoing phase 2 trials today (July 20) in the journal The Lancet. In these two early phases, researchers tested the safety and immune response of a vaccine on a total of 1,077 participants between the ages of 18 and 55 who had no history of COVID-19 across five U.K. hospitals.
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