Bharat Biotech working on Covid-19 vaccine

Henrietta Brewer
May 24, 2020

The Beijing professor responsible for the Lancet study stresses that the findings should be interpreted cautiously, describing it as "a promising vision for the development of COVID-19 vaccines".

He pointed out that reports of the University of Oxford's candidate not being able to prevent infection in monkeys is a flawed observation because it did prevent pneumonia, which is the most serious outcome of COVID.

USA biotech firm Moderna Inc. announced the results of its phase I clinical trial on May 18 in its promising vaccine candidate named mRNA-1273.

The vaccine uses a weakened common cold virus called adenovirus, which infects human cells easily but does not cause a disease.

For the next few years, however, Poonawalla says vulnerable populations must remain cautious and take all possible precautions over the next 2-3 years. Of all the 76 vaccine contenders listed by the World Health Organization (WHO), this is the first RNA vaccine trial to initiate an immune response by making antibodies to fight the SARS-CoV-induced peak protein. 2.

At present, more than hundreds of Covid-19 vaccine development projects are in the pipeline across the world and any lead in this direction will become a showstopper for the spread of the virus.

But it says early trials involving 108 adults in Wuhan produced neutralizing antibodies and a response in T-cells, which protect the body from pathogens, after 28 days.

The most common adverse reaction was pain at the injection site (58 participants or 54%), fever (50 participants), fatigue (47 individuals), headache (42 participants) and muscle pain (18 participants). One participant in the high-dose group developed high fever, as well as fatigue, shortness of breath, and muscle pain, but the effects lasted only 48 hours. Furthermore, half of the participants in the low- and middle-dosage groups and three-quarters of those in the high-dosage group showed neutralising antibodies against SARS-CoV-2. However, scientists are skeptical about the drug's effectiveness, since it does not activate T cells.

Early data shows how the vaccines for the coronavirus will generate a robust immune response.

Levels of these antibodies were more than twice as high among the participants who got the high dose shot, compared to those given the low dose.

Only five (25%) participants of 20 in the low-dose group, seven (37%) participants of 19 in the middle dose group, and ten (63%) participants of 16 in the high dose group, who had high pre-existing immunity to adenovirus type-5, had at least a four-fold increase in neutralising antibody titre at day 28 post-vaccination.

He said a research team tested their mRNA vaccine on guinea pigs before moving on to monkeys, identified as long-tailed macaques, which share a similar genetic structure to humans.

The phase-2 trial will be a randomised, double-blinded and placebo-controlled trial.

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