Promising results for Oxford’s Covid-19 vaccine backed by Netherlands
The most recent testing of a SARS-CoV-2 vaccine which the Dutch government has pre-purchased showed promising results, with immunity to the virus still in place nearly two months after the vaccine was administered. Some 1,077 healthy adults participated in the test, and none of the subjects showed serious side effects, according to research published in science journal The Lancet on Monday.
“We show that a single dose of ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 elicits an increase in spike-specific antibodies by day 28 and neutralizing antibody in all participants after a booster dose,” the research paper stated. The authors said that the research justifies a phase 3 trial to further prove if the vaccine, also known as AZD1222, prevents an infection of the novel coronavirus responsible for Covid-19.
The study is ongoing, the researchers said, and a much smaller group of ten subjects were given the second booster dose after four weeks. Minor side effects included fatigue, headache, and pain at the injection site. Paracetamol was effective in treating some of the side effects, the researchers said. Other side effects included malaise, chills, and feeling feverish. Side effects had mostly disappeared quickly, according to the study.
“The majority of adverse events reported were mild or moderate in severity, and all were self-limiting,” the researchers said.
Some 543 people were administered the vaccine developed by Oxford University with funding from AstraZeneca, while 534 people in a control group were given a vaccine against meningitis. The median age of the test subjects was 35, with a near even split between male and female. Over 91 percent of those tested were white, the researchers said.
Vaccine purchase by the Netherlands
The Dutch government formed an alliance with France, Germany and Italy to improve their buying power to secure vaccines against SARS-CoV-2. Their first deal was with AstraZeneca to acquire between 300 and 400 million units of the AZD1222 vaccine. The four countries previously said other European nations could join their pre-purchase deal, and the European Commission was also pursuing similar deals.
If the vaccine trials continue to be successful, the first doses of the vaccine could theoretically reach the Netherlands before the end of the year, the Dutch government said when the deal was announced. That optimism was tempered when the government added, "The risk of failure is present until the end in each of the development phases."
"It is very important that we can take this step today. A vaccine is crucial in the fight against the virus," said Health Minister Hugo de Jonge when the deal was announced. "Until the vaccine is available, the virus will be among us and it will emerge. A vaccine is therefore being worked on with great effort. We want to work together and bet on several horses at the same time, because you don't know in advance who will win the race.”
Last month, several Dutch institutions, including the UMC Utrecht, Utrecht University, and public health agency RIVM were tasked by European agencies with monitoring the safety and efficacy of vaccines, as well as the spread of the virus once a vaccine is introduced to the public.