WHO hails ‘good news’ about two Covid-19 vaccine candidates

Hemani Sheth Mumbai | Updated on July 21, 2020

A representative image   -  Reuters

The World Health Organization on Monday hailed the “good news” of positive results from two Covid-19 vaccines that have proven safe for humans and have produced a positive immune response against the infection.

“It is good news,” Dr Michael Ryan, head of emergencies at the WHO, told a press briefing.

“We have 23 Covid-19 candidate vaccines in clinical development and as of today we have one candidate vaccine for which Phase I clinical data was available,” he said.

“It is great to see data coming through into peer-reviewed journals,” he added.

The statement comes in the light of two different studies published in Lancet.

The journal on Monday published Phase I results from AstraZeneca’s vaccine candidate developed in collaboration with Oxford University that had shown positive immune response. The trials consisted of 1,000 healthy volunteers.

In a second study, a Covid-19 vaccine candidate from China’s CanSino Biologics had also shown positive immune response for candidates in clinical trials.

“Both vaccine doses induced significant neutralising antibody responses to live SARS-CoV-2, with GMT of 19.5 & 18.3 in participants receiving high & low dose, respectively. Binding antibody response peaked at 656.5 & 571 ELISA units for high & low vaccine dose, respectively,” Lancet had tweeted.

Ryan emphasised the need for further trials on a larger scale to determine the efficacy of the vaccines.

“We now need to move into larger-scale real-world trials. But it is good to see more data and more products moving into this very important phase of vaccine discovery,” Ryan said.

Chinese researchers from CanSino Biologics published a study on their experimental vaccine,

Other front-runners of the vaccine race include US firm Moderna’s experimental vaccine, which will begin the next phase of trials on July 27. Meanwhile, a vaccine candidate under development by Pfizer Inc and Germany's BioNTech has also shown promise in early studies.

AstraZeneca will also be conducting a clinical study in India for its “promising” Covid-19 vaccine candidate.

“We will be doing a study in India. It’s a big country and there is a lot of infection,” AstraZeneca Chief Executive Pascal Soriot told BusinessLine.

Published on July 21, 2020

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