COVID-19 vaccine is highly needed to lower the severe impact that coronavirus have caused the whole world. COVID-19 is a deadly disease that has affected millions of people all over the world and claimed millions of life. According to wolrdometer as at 28th of October 2020 COVID-19 has affected over 48 million people and claimed 1,172,075 lives globally. The World Health Organisation (WHO) declared COVID-19 a global pandemic on March 2020. Ever since then social gathering, businesses and other social lifestyles have been limited with the aim of reducing the spread of the virus. Microbiologist, pharmaceutical scientist and other scientist all over the world are doing intensive research to discover, develop and produce new drugs that will treat the COVID-19 as well as vaccines that will effectively prevent the occurrence of the disease. In today’s article will be discussing important aspect you need to know about the vacine that is being developed by the University of Oxford scientist with the aim of preventing COVID-19.
What is a vaccine?
Vaccine is a substance that triggers the immune system to produce antibodies that fight against diseases. In most cases a vaccine usually contain the organism or part of the organism that causes the infection but it has been made in such a way that it doesn’t cause harm to those that get the vaccine. This is because the organism have either being killed, weakened or inactivated to the point that it can no longer cause infection again.
Oxford COVID-19 vaccine
The Oxford COVID-19 vaccine trial is coordinated and conducted by scientists from the Jenner institute and Oxford vaccine group. The team that is developing Oxford COVID-19 vaccine is led by Prof. Sarah Gilbert, Prof. Andrew Pollard, Prof. Teresa lambe, Dr Sandy Douglas, Prof. Catherine Green and Prof. Adrian Hill. This scientist are well-respected and internationally recognised vacine researchers.
These teams chose chimpanzee adenovirus vaccine vector (ChAdOx1) as the best vacine technology for SARS-COV-2 vacine. This is because ChAdOx1 was known to produce a very strong immune response to the disease. ChAdOx1 is a weakened and inactivated virus that cannot cause an infection in those that have been given the vaccine, this makes it incredibly safe and harmless to children, older adults and those with underlying health conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure and so on.
Oxford vaccine clinical trial
The clinical trial for Oxford COVID-19 vacine kicked off in April 2020. The clinical trial was made up of 3 phases namely phase I, phase II and phase III. The objective of this phases was to clearly determined if ChAdOx1 will effectively prevent COVID-19 by generating a strong immune response without causing harmful side effect to the people that get the vaccine.
In the phase I COVID-19 vacine trial, more than 1000 participants were recruited and vacinated with ChAdOx1 SARS-COV-2 vacine or MenACWY which is a licensed vaccine that is used as a control for comparison. The participants were followed up after receiving the vaccine and the symptoms they exhibited after 7 days were recorded. They we also monitored and assessed to see if they fall sick in the next 3 weeks. The participants blood sample were also collected and tested to determine their immune response to the vaccine.
The Oxford phase II COVID-19 vacine trial involves testing the vacine among wider age range. The vacine was tested among children between age 5 -12 years, older adult between 56 – 59 years and those above the age of 70 years so as to determine their immune response to the vaccine. The differences between the degree of immunity among the varieties of age groups were also reviewed and recorded by the researchers.
The final phase which is the phase III involved testing the vacine among large population so as to determine the effectiveness in preventing COVID-19 and ensuring its safety. On the 6th of September the phase III trial was paused globally due to safety reasons when a participants feel sick. However, the United States Food and Drug Administration have currently authorised the restart of the clinical trial of ChAdOx1 Oxford COVID-19 vacine in the United States after reviewing all safety data from the trial globally and ensuring that it is safe to resume.
The Oxford ChAdOx1 phase III vaccine trial is currently going on in the United kingdom , United States, Brazil, South Africa and Japan with thousands of volunteer being recruited to test the vaccine. Once the phase III have been completed and the vacine is proven to be effective in preventing COVID-19 without posing harmful health risk to the participants then it will be fully approved, licensed and mass produced for the population to get the vacine.