First human trial of Covid-19 vaccine shows promising results

About 20 countries in Africa will receive the Covid-19 antigen rapid-diagnostic tests starting in October.

About 20 countries in Africa will receive the Covid-19 antigen rapid-diagnostic tests starting in October.

Published May 23, 2020


DURBAN - The first Covid-19 vaccine to reach phase I clinical trial is safe, well-tolerated, and capable of generating an immune response against the novel coronavirus in humans, says a new research published in The Lancet journal on Friday.

According to the study of 108 adults, the vaccine produced neutralising antibodies, and a response mediated by the immune system's T-cells against the novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2.

"These results represent an important milestone. The trial demonstrates that a single dose of the new adenovirus type 5 vectored Covid-19 (Ad5-nCoV) vaccine produces virus-specific antibodies and T cells in 14 days, making it a potential candidate for further investigation", said Professor Wei Chen from the Beijing Institute of Biotechnology in Beijing, China, who is responsible for the study.

The new Ad5 vectored Covid-19 vaccine evaluated in this trial is the first to be tested in humans. Based on the results, Chen said the vaccine is a potential candidate for further investigation. However, the researchers cautioned that the results should be interpreted cautiously.

"The challenges in the development of a Covid-19 vaccine are unprecedented, and the ability to trigger these immune responses does not necessarily indicate that the vaccine will protect humans from Covid-19. This result shows a promising vision for the development of Covid-19 vaccines, but we are still a long way from this vaccine being available to all," said the professor.

The authors note that the main limitations of the trial are its small sample size, relatively short duration, and lack of randomised control group, which limits the ability to pick up rarer adverse reactions to the vaccine or provide robust evidence for its ability to generate an immune reaction. Further research will be needed before this trial vaccine becomes available to all.

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