First doses of China's CoronaVac COVID-19 vaccine arrive in Brazil

Laverne Higgins
November 20, 2020

University of Oxford scientists expect to report results from the late-stage trials of their COVID-19 vaccine by Christmas, a key researcher said Thursday as he discussed the team's latest findings. Given that severe COVID-19 is more common in adults ages 70 years and older, a vaccine that targets this group of individuals in a safe and efficacious manner is desirable.

A volunteer receives an injection at a hospital in Johannesburg, South Africa on June 24 as part of Africa's first participation in a Covid-19 vaccine trial developed at the University of Oxford in Britain in conjunction with the pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca.

They show that older adults aged 56-69 and over 70 had a similar immune response to younger adults aged 18-55. T-cell response occurred within 14 days of the first dose of vaccination, and antibody response occurred within 28 days of the booster dose of vaccination.

Dr Maheshi Ramasamy, an investigator at the Oxford Vaccine Group, said: "We were pleased to see that our vaccine was not only well tolerated in older adults, but also stimulated similar immune responses to those seen in younger volunteers".

November turned out to be the month of good Covid-19 vaccine news.

No serious adverse reaction has been reported from those who received the vaccine in emergency use, Sinopharm said in an article on social media WeChat, citing Chairman Liu Jingzhen from a recent media interview.

Rutgers University looks for participants in coronavirus vaccine trial
It is the latest announcement of agreements for the supply of Covid-19 vaccines, if they are proved to be safe and effective. The first doses of the Pfizer vaccine, which must be kept at -70 degree Celsius, could be rolled out in NZ by early 2021.

"We're still waiting to get to the point where we can do the analysis to just work out how well the vaccine can protect people, and we're getting ever closer to that", he told journalists. This current waiver request to the WTO is a similar step to speed up the response to COVID-19.

Volunteers in the trial were put into groups and given one or two doses of the vaccine or a dummy jab. "We and it's not a competition with the other developers", Oxford's Pollard said, adding that AstraZeneca would release headline efficacy data before it was published in an academic journal.

"I'd be concerned. that [CoronaVac] seemed to induce lower antibody levels than what we've seen with other vaccines and lower than what you see in most people who have had disease and recovered", says Dr. Gregory Poland, a vaccinologist and professor at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.

Rutgers is also one of 90 sites across the USA for Moderna's phase 3 vaccine trial.

The Phase 3 trials of the vaccine are underway and early efficacy readings could come out in the upcoming weeks.

CoronaVac is one of three experimental Covid-19 vaccines that China has been using to inoculate hundreds of thousands of people under an emergency-use programme. It's a look at safety and immunogenicity in a wider spectrum of patients than has been reported so far, and the main news from it is that older patients appear to respond very similarly to the younger ones, both in antibody titers and T cells.

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