Oxford vaccine triggers an immune response, moves to Phase III

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — A team of scientists at Oxford University announcing their vaccine trial will move to Phase III.

Initial testing of 1,000 healthy adults found the vaccine produced a strong immune response to the coronavirus. This news comes just days after doctors at Vanderbilt University Medical Center announced a late-stage study of a different experimental COVID-19 vaccine.

Promising news, says infectious disease doctor William Schaffner.

“We’ll have two candidates out front, recruiting volunteers, to see which one works,” said Schaffner, “Maybe they both will work.”

Oxford and AstraZeneca will collaborate with partners to start the Phase III trials in the U.S. enrolling 30,000 patients. The speed in which these vaccines have made it through the testing process impresses those in the industry. What usually takes years, has taken months.

“Everyone is working very rapidly, and here I hesitate because when I say we’re working rapidly many viewers will hear they’re cutting corners. No corners are being cut,” assured Dr. Schaffner.

Instead, he explains, scientists are working day and night fighting a global pandemic.

“We had a lot of science to give us a head start to make the vaccine,” said Schaffner, “And, then we’re doing some things simultaneously that we used to do sequentially one after the other.”

One example, production of the trial vaccines is already underway.

“If the trials work out well, we have an effective and safe vaccine, great! We have a warehouse full of vaccine ready to go,” explained Schaffner.

We should know the results from both Phase III trails by the end of this year or early 2021.

“If everything goes absolutely right, sometime at the end of the first quarter beginning of the second quarter next year, we could see people on the top of the priority list health care workers, for example, people who are older with underlying illnesses, start to see the vaccine,” said Schaffner.

The Oxford Vaccine trial will also include a pediatric study as well as trails in Brazil and South Africa.

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