AstraZeneca’s experimental COVID-19 vaccine was safe and produced an immune response in early-stage clinical trials in healthy volunteers, data showed on Monday.
Drugmakers are racing to combat the pandemic that has now killed nearly 600,000 people. There are no approved vaccines for COVID-19, but the World Health Organization (WHO) has said AstraZeneca’s shot is one of the leading candidates.
The shot, AZD1222, is a recombinant viral vector vaccine developed by Oxford University.
It is licensed to AstraZeneca. Uses weakened version of a common-cold virus that encodes instructions for making proteins from the novel coronavirus to build immunity.
Likely to provide protection for about a year. An AZD1222 shot would cost about 2.5 euros ($2.8) per dose in Europe, according to Italy’s health ministry. AstraZeneca does not expect to profit from it during the pandemic. Costs in other regions not disclosed.
Late-stage trials are currently underway in Britain, Brazil And South Africa and are due to start in the United States. Mexico is in talks to run trials.
Data showed that the vaccine was safe and produced an immune response in early-stage clinical trials in healthy volunteers, with a stronger immune response in 10 people given an extra dose of the vaccine after 28 days.
Data from late-stage studies is expected by August to September.
Delivery of first dose expected between September and October. Experts predict a safe and effective vaccine could take 12-18 months to develop.