On Monday, infectious disease expert Dr. Abdu Sharkawy stated that a potential COVID-19 vaccine in England offers some “hope for a change.” However, he warned that it was still very early to know how successful the shot could be in eliminating the virus. Sharkawy indicated that the experimental coronavirus vaccine from Oxford University is extremely promising as the vaccine candidate successfully produced antibodies that can recognize and kill an infecting organism in people aged 18 to 55. According to a study circulated on Monday in the journal Lancet, the vaccine produces a dual immune response that lasted for at least two months after immunization.
Sharkawy also added that when they say that there is light at the end of the tunnel with COVID-19, people think it’s an oncoming train. However, he confirmed that this might actually represent a little bit of hope for a change. Though the testing began in April on 1,000 people, the vaccine is still in the early trial stages. The trials will be expanded to the three of the five nations with the most known COVID-19 infections worldwide, Brazil, the United States, and South Africa.
In the meantime, there are more than 100 others in earlier stages and more than 20 vaccines presently in clinical trials around the world.
Sharkawy added that the Oxford vaccine is considered so promising as it was shown to produce both “binding” and “neutralizing” antibodies. He added that it is really the first time that they have seen a vaccine candidate that has been able both bind antibodies that recognize the virus and neutralizing antibodies which can actually kill the virus. Moreover, there was no indication that the vaccine produced any harmful effects short of “minor aches and pains” that can be treated with Tylenol. He added that in terms of severe pain, febrile reactions, etcetera, several other vaccine trials had not-negligible side-effect profiles.
Nevertheless, Sharkawy warned that before a vaccine is proven to be safe and effective, there is still much work to be done. He added that to go through what’s called surveillance for longer-term safety before they can say that this is going to be readily accessible throughout the world, they need thousands of more patients to be tested and. He added that they would need data from that and beyond that will require an infrastructure set up to distribute this if it continues to show the safety and efficacy results that it has.
Isaac Bogoch, an infectious disease expert, indicated that this is a huge step in the right direction, from the Oxford vaccine to Canadians. Bogoch added that those results wouldn’t arrive until the end of the summer. To immunize every Canadian twice, the government has ordered enough syringes, alcohol swabs and bandages. The Oxford and drugmaker AstraZeneca has committed to making 2 billion doses. It is unclear how countries will obtain doses of a successful vaccine candidate and how Canada will have access.