Specialized journal endorses two COVID-19 vaccines


DHAKA, July 21, 2020 (BSS) – Specialized global medical journal Lancet overnight endorsed two prospective COVID-19 vaccines, calling their trials to have yielded “eencouraging results” as they produced strong immune reactions among patients.

Lancet said they reviewed results of two early phase COVID-19 vaccine trials reported by Jenner Institute at Oxford University with supports from drug maker AstraZeneca, and China’s CanSino Biologics.

“The safety signals from these two important trials are reassuring,” read the latest edition of the journal issued late yesterday.

The international media outlets widely carried the Lancet observations saying the two coronavirus vaccine candidates proved safe for humans and produced strong immune reactions among patients involved in separate clinical trials.

Based on the Lancet findings French news agency AFP said the Oxford vaccine trial was carried out among more than 1,000 adults in Britain that found the shot induced “strong antibody and T cell immune responses” against the novel coronavirus.

It said a separate trial in China involving more than 500 people showed most had developed widespread antibody immune response.

“The studies, published in The Lancet medical journal, constitute a major step on the road towards a COVID-19 vaccine that is effective and safe for widespread use,” the report commented.

British High Commission in Dhaka, meanwhile, shared with media an Oxford University’s statement saying a team of scientists at the University’s Jenner Institute and Oxford Vaccine Group has taken the next step towards the discovery of a safe, effective and accessible vaccine against coronavirus”.

According to the statement participants who received the vaccine during the study had detectable neutralising antibodies with researchers suggesting the phenomenon to be important for protection as these responses were strongest after a booster dose, “with 100% of participants’ blood having neutralising activity against the coronavirus”.

“The next step in studying the vaccine is to confirm that it can effectively protect against SARS-CoV-2 infection,” he statement read while BBC reported that the UK by now ordered 100 million doses of the vaccine.

In a simultaneous development Chinese researchers secured the Lancet endorsement for their vaccine, developed using an identical technique as the Oxford scientists. 

China’s state-run Xinhua news agency said a phase 2 trial of a COVID-19 vaccine candidate conducted in China found that the vaccine is safe and induces an immune response.

It said the results provided data from a wider group of participants than the phase 1 trial, which was published in May while the phase 1 trial involved 108 healthy adults and it demonstrated promising results.

“The phase 2 trial adds further evidence on safety and immunogenicity in a large population than the phase 1 trial,” Xinhua said quoting Professor Fengcai Zhu of China’s Jiangsu Provincial Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

He described the trial result as crucial in evaluating “this early-stage experimental vaccine (as) phase 3 trials are now underway”.

According to The Lancet, the trial of the Ad5 vectored COVID-19 vaccine candidate was conducted among 508 participants in the central Chinese city of Wuhan, where the outbreak of the disease was first reported in December last year.

Referring to experts Reuters news agency said the CanSino candidate was is one of a handful of vaccines that showed “some promise in early human testing prior to much larger trials to demonstrate efficacy”.

“Both vaccines (of Oxford and CanSino) elicited antibody and T-cell immune responses and neither prompted any serious side effects,” it said referring to the Lancet article.

Experts at International Vaccine Access Center at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in an accompanying editorial said both studies augur well for the large Phase III trials.

The developments came as researchers around the globe were developing over 160 vaccines against coronavirus with 26 of them currently on human trials of different stages.