New Delhi | Jagran Lifestyle Desk: The trial data of a COVID-19 vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University reveals that it is safe and induces immune response, with mild side effects in some participants, which the scientists say can be treated with the commonly available pain medication paracetamol.

The preliminary results of the phase I/II trial, just published in The Lancet journal, involved 1,107 healthy adults, and found that the vaccine induced an immune response both via antibodies and the T cells of the immune system up to day 56 of the ongoing trial.

The vaccine AZD1222 triggered a T Cell response within 14 days of vaccination and an antibody response within 28 days, a paper published in The Lancet journal said. A T cell response refers to the attack of the white blood cells on the cells that are infected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus, the University of Oxford said.

The vaccine has been described by the World Health Organisation's chief scientist as the leading candidate in a global race to halt a pandemic that has killed more than 600,000 people. More than 150 possible vaccines are in various stages of development, and U.S. drugmaker Pfizer and China's CanSino Biologics also reported positive responses for their candidates on Monday.

Trials for the vaccine will begin in India as soon as a license is procured, said the Indian firm partnering the researchers in the UK. 

Adar Poonawalla, chief of the Serum Institute of India, the world's largest vaccine manufacturer which is partnering the Oxford researchers, said the trials "have shown promising results and we are extremely happy about it".

"We will be applying for the licensure trials to the Indian regulator in a week's time. As soon as they grant us permission, we will begin with the trials for the vaccine in India. In addition, we will soon start manufacturing the vaccine in large volumes," he added.

Tageting two doses

The trial results showed a stronger immune response in 10 people given an extra dose of the vaccine after 28 days, echoing a trial in pigs. Oxford's Gilbert said the early-stage trial could not determine whether one or two doses would be needed to provide immunity.

"It may be that we don't need two doses, but we want to know what we can achieve," she told reporters.

AstraZeneca's biopharma chief, Mene Pangalos, said the firm was leaning towards a two-dose strategy for later-stage trials, and did not want to risk a single or lower dose that might not work. The antibody levels generated were "in the region" of those seen in convalescent patients, he said.

The trial included 1,077 healthy adults aged 18-55 years with no history of COVID-19. Researchers said the vaccine caused minor side effects more frequently than a control group, but some of these could be reduced by taking the painkiller paracetamol, which is also known as acetaminophen.

Posted By: Abhinav Gupta