MOSCOW, July 21 — A vaccine against COVID-19 produced by the University of Oxford and the pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca that has shown promise during trials and is believed to be both safe and effective is a positive step, but there is a long way to go before it will reach widespread distribution, reported Sputnik news agency, quoting the executive director of the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) Health Emergencies Programme Michael Ryan on Monday.
Earlier in the day, Oxford University scientists published the results of the first phase of clinical trials conducted on 1,077 participants. Early findings have shown that the vaccine stimulates the production of both antibodies and virus-fighting T-cells.
“The data is very new. We do welcome the study and congratulate our colleagues at Oxford University’s Jenner Institute and the Oxford Vaccine Group and our colleagues at AstraZeneca for getting this data out there … In generating T-cell mediated responses and generating neutralizing antibodies, this is a positive result,” Ryan said at a WHO press briefing.
Despite the early progress, Ryan said that further extensive testing will be required before the vaccine enters circulation.
“Again, there is a long way to go. These are phase one studies. We need to move into larger-scale real-world trials, but it is good to see more data and more products moving into this very important phase of vaccine discovery,” the WHO official said.
The UK government has already secured a deal to receive 100 million doses of the vaccine produced by the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca. The pharmaceutical firm is hoping to roll out the vaccine by September.