Hopes rise for a coronavirus vaccine: First results of Oxford’s Covid-19 jab show it’s safe and provokes an immune reaction that lasts for two months as team says it may be ready by Christmas – while other Chinese candidate is also found to be effective

Hopes of ending the Covid-19 pandemic with a vaccine grew today after promising data revealed Oxford University’s experimental jab is safe and provokes an immune reaction that lasts for at least two months.

Hugely-anticipated clinical trial results of the vaccine — one of the front-runners in the world’s race for a jab — revealed more than 91 per cent of volunteers injected produced an immune response against the coronavirus that lasted a month or more.

Immune responses remained strong for at least 56 days, according to results in The Lancet. But it won’t be licensed for human use yet because it has not been proven to work and the results only show it has promise.

The scientists who did the study, however, said it is ‘possible’ that the vaccine could be ready by December if tests keep going according to plan. Another added that people in the most at-risk groups could get the first jabs in the winter.

Crucially, nobody suffered any bad side effects from the vaccine and it is stimulating the immune system as scientists hoped. Some people developed headaches, tiredness and pain in their arm after they were given the jab, but scientists claimed none of the side effects were severe.

Researchers on the project said ‘the early results hold promise’ but added much more is still needed.’ Infectious disease scientists warned ‘there is still a long way to go’ before any vaccine is rolled out.

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If the vaccine is given to the public it is likely to be in two doses given close together, developers said, because that seems to strengthen the body’s response.

Another study also published in The Lancet today showed that a vaccine being developed in China is showing promise and produces strong immune responses.

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