With 160 coronavirus vaccine candidates under development around the world, it’s not surprising that we would get reports on three successful, if very early, trials today.
The coronavirus vaccine that Oxford University is developing with AstraZeneca (AZN) showed increased levels of antibody production and increased T-cell activity in human trials according to results published today in The Lancet.
The Phase 1 trial, which took place between April 23 and May 21, involved 1,077 healthy adults aged 18 to 55 with no history of Covid-19. A control group were given a meningitis vaccine as a placebo and 10 participants received two doses of the shot one month apart. The vaccine caused minor side effects. A single dose of Oxford vaccine resulted in a four-fold increase in antibodies to the virus’s spike protein in 95% of participants one month after injection.
“Our hope is that we can actually start delivering a vaccine before the end of the year,” AstraZeneca Pascal Soriot told Bloomberg. “We’re working as quickly as we can but of course there are things you cannot control.”
Like the partial data released by Moderna (MRNA) last week, there’s a serious limitation in the Oxford trial data released today. The population over 55 is most at risk in the coronavirus epidemic and yet this population isn’t represented in the data from this or the Moderna test. That’s significant because older people tend to have less responsive immune systems so a vaccine that produces a high level of antibodies in younger trial participants won’t necessarily produce the same level of reaction in the older at-risk population.
Today, we also got positive trial reports from vaccine projects at China’s CanSino Biologics and the partnership of Pfizer (PFE) and BioNTech (BNTX.)
The Wall Street take today is that the results from Oxford/AstraZeneca don’t jump the bar set by Pfizer/BioNtech and Moderna.