What is Oxford university’s ChAdOx1 Covid-19 vaccine?

  • ChAdOx1 COVID-9 was jointly developed by British-Swedish company AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford.
  • It has been found to be safe and induced an immune response in early-stage clinical trials.

About the Vaccine and how was it developed?

  • The vaccine belongs to a category called non-replicating viral vector vaccines.
  • This vaccine is made from a genetically engineered virus that causes the common cold in chimpanzees.
  • Scientists did this by transferring the genetic instructions of the coronavirus’ “spike protein” – the crucial tool it uses to invade human cells – to the vaccine. This was done so that the vaccine resembles the coronavirus and the immune system can learn how to attack it.

Findings of Phase 2 trial on 560 adults published in Lancet.

  • The SARS-CoV-2 vaccine developed by teams at the University of Oxford has been shown to trigger a robust immune response in healthy adults aged 56 to 69 and those over 70.
  • The findings published in the medical journal Lancet on Thursday, based on 560 healthy adult volunteers, shows that the ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 vaccine is safe and well tolerated with a lower reactogenicity profile in older adults than in younger adults, meaning the older age groups could build immunity to the disease.
  •  The next step will be to see if this translates into protection from the disease itself.
  • The Oxford group has a tie-up with the Pune-based Serum Institute of India.
  • Crucially, the study also found no suspected unexpected serious adverse reactions during this stage of the trial. The 560 healthy adult volunteers who took part in the Phase 2 trials were given two doses of the vaccine candidate, or a placebo.
  • Inducing robust immune responses in older adults has been a long-standing challenge in human vaccine research.
  • “To show [that] this vaccine technology is able to induce these responses, in the age group most at risk from severe COVID-19 disease, offers hope that vaccine efficacy will be similar in younger and older adults.
  • The latest trial shows that after a single vaccination, T cell responses were highly comparable in all ages.
  • Vaccine maker Serum Institute of India’s CEO Adar Poonawalla on Thursday said the Oxford COVID-19 vaccine should be available for healthcare workers and elderly people by around February 2021 and by April for the general public, and will be priced at a maximum of ₹1,000 for two necessary doses for the public, depending on the final trial results and regulatory approvals.
  • Probably by 2024, every Indian would get vaccinated, he said at the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit, 2020.“It will probably take two or three years for every Indian to get inoculated, not just because of the supply constraints but because you need the budget, the vaccine, logistics, infrastructure and then, people should be willing to take the vaccine.”
  • Mr. Poonawalla said the Oxford vaccine was affordable, safe and could be stored at a temperature of two to eight degrees Celsius, which was an ideal temperature for it to be stored in the cold storages of India.
  • He said the SII planned to make about 10 crore doses a month from February.