Experimental COVID-19 vaccine shown to be effective in monkeys



But she noted it is not yet clear what degree of an immunity response is needed to achieve protection against the virus that causes Covid-19 - and maybe the antibody levels reached in people who had pre-existing immunity to Ad5 will be high enough, even if they aren't at the levels of people who had low level or no previous immunity to the vaccine vector. By 28 days, almost all participants had developed antibodies that bound to SARS-CoV-2 (but don't necessarily attack the virus), and about half of the participants in the low- and middle- dose groups and three-quarters of participants in the high-dose group developed "neutralizing antibodies", which bind to and disable the virus to prevent it from infecting cells.

About 4 in 5 participants had some level of side effects.

The Beijing Institute of Biotechnology's vaccine is just one of dozens being studied around the world as public health authorities desperately search for a cure for the pandemic, which has already killed more than 94,000 people in the USA alone.

Researchers tested for two types of antibodies: binding and neutralizing.

The vaccine stimulated production of both antibodies that can stop infection along with immune T-cells, according to a report published Friday in The Lancet medical journal.

Researchers sought answers to two urgent questions: whether vaccines will prevent the COVID-19 infection, also called SARS-CoV-2, and whether those who've recovered from COVID-19 are protected against reinfection if exposed again.

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Much like the rest of the world, New Zealand was also under lockdown, but circumstances have improved there, allowing the team to resume production.

Encouragingly, none of the 108 patients had serious side effects. Fever (46%), fatigue (44%), and headache (39%) were the most common systemic adverse events.

"It's very good news", Barouch said.

Side effect profiles may be particularly important to getting people to get vaccinated against coronavirus once one is available.

It is the first published data to come from a coronavirus vaccine program.

So far, the USA government is supporting the development of 14 candidate vaccinations through its Operation Speed initiative. CanSino Biologic, a Chinese vaccine company, is conducting phase two human trials of a COVID-19 vaccine, and the company has also received approval from Canada's Department of Health to carry out additional human trials in the country. The specific vaccines used in the second paper are preliminary, and may require considerable modification, but Barouch said in a statement, "Our findings increase optimism that the development of COVID-19 vaccines will be possible".

China's completed trial puts it ahead - but not by much, says Dr Hotez.

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