Coronavirus vaccine candidates show promise

Positive early trial results from two coronavirus vaccine candidates are “very exciting,” according to Barry Bloom of Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

In a July 20, 2020 USA Today article, Bloom, Joan L. and Julius H. Jacobson Research Professor of Public Health, commented on encouraging findings regarding one vaccine candidate being developed by the University of Oxford and the drug company AstraZeneca, and another in development in China.

The University of Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine led to strong immune responses for nearly two months in a trial tracking more than 1,000 healthy adults. Strong immune responses were also found among most of the 508 people who received the Chinese vaccine candidate.

“The unlikely possibility that we will have vaccines ready for approval and large-scale distribution by the end of the year—which seemed utterly crazy seven months ago—may well be a real possibility,” said Bloom. He and others emphasized that vaccine testing is moving quickly not by cutting corners on safety, but by conducting research steps simultaneously instead of sequentially, as is typically done.

Roughly 17 vaccine candidates are currently being tested worldwide. Bloom told Axios that he’s confident that more than one coronavirus vaccine will eventually be available. But he cautioned that it won’t be known how effective the vaccines are in protecting against COVID-19, and for how long that protection will last, until after phase three trials.

Read the USA Today article: UK’s Oxford University coronavirus vaccine candidate is safe and effective with few side effects, early trial results show

Read the Axios article: The state of the global race for a coronavirus vaccine