Oxford's coronavirus vaccine candidate is safe and induces immune response, study shows

Oxford coronavirus vaccine development.
(Image credit: STEVE PARSONS/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Not long after Moderna unveiled promising early results for its coronavirus vaccine candidate, the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca have released more hopeful news.

A study published Monday in The Lancet found Oxford's vaccine candidate to be safe, albeit with some mild side effects like fatigue and headaches that were reduced with pain relief medicine. The injection also led to a dual immune reaction to the coronavirus. Patients in the trial involving 1,077 people produced both neutralizing antibodies and the less-frequently discussed T-Cells, a type of white blood cell that helps coordinate the body's immune system and destroys infected cells. "We're stimulating both arms of the immune system," said Adrian Hill, the head of Oxford's Jenner Institute.

T-Cell and antibody levels peaked at 14 and 28 days after vaccination, respectively, but the study did not run long enough to get a sense of long-term immunity. Antibody levels remained high until 56 days after vaccination and the response was boosted by a second dose.

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While Oxford's team is pleased with the results, and the vaccine appears to be safe, it's still early in the process. More trials will need to be done to ensure safety and prove that the immune responses reach levels necessary to fight off the virus. Read the full results study at The Lancet.

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