Scientists at Imperial College London have started to provide immunity to hundreds of people against COVID-19 through an experimental coronavirus vaccine as a part of an early trial. They started the process after witnessing the absence of any serious safety issue during a small vaccine trail.
Dr Robin Shattock, a professor who is leading the vaccine research at Imperial and is involved in the testing informed that they have just finished a very meticulous process of vaccine given at a low dose to the initial participants. He also informed that the process would now be scaled up to about 300 people, including some of the participants over age 75.
He said, “It’s well tolerated. There aren’t any side effects”. However, he added that it was still very early in the study. He is expecting the outcomes to represent safety data so the college can start inoculating several thousand people in October. He told that he is searching for other countries apart from Britain as well to test their vaccine. He said, “We’re looking very carefully at the pandemic, at the numbers where the hot spots are and talking to collaborators that have the facilities to do these kinds of studies”. This is because COVID-19 infection cases have plummeted dramatically in Britain, making it hard to evaluate whether the vaccine works or not.
The Imperial college used the synthetic strands of genetic code based on the virus to manufacture its vaccine. The vaccine elicits a positive immune response in the body after being injected. If someone gets infected with the COVID-19 virus after being vaccinated with the Imperial developed vaccine, then the person would be able to overcome it. As because of the vaccine body’s own cells would make copies of a spiky protein on the coronavirus, minimising its effect.
According to the World Health Organization, multiple COVID-19 vaccine approaches are significant. It reported that the usual success rate for vaccine development is about 10%.
Shattock commented, “We have 20 vaccines in clinical trials, (so) we can be pretty confident that at least two of those will work. It really depends on how strong the immune response needs to be to provide protection.” He also expressed his positive outlook on the outcome of the Imperial vaccine.