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Coronavirus vaccine from Oxford and AstraZeneca shows positive response in early trial

A potential coronavirus vaccine developed by Oxford University with pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca has produced a promising immune response in a large, early-stage human trial, according to newly released data published Monday in the medical journal The Lancet.

The researchers are calling their experimental vaccine ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 (AZD1222). It combines genetic material from the coronavirus with a modified adenovirus that is known to cause infections in chimpanzees. The phase one trial had more than 1,000 participants in people ages 18 to 55.

AstraZeneca’s shares were down 2.5% in midday trading.

The researchers said the vaccine produced antibodies and killer T-cells to combat the infection that lasted at least two months. Neutralizing antibodies, which scientists believe is important to gain protection against the virus, were detected in participants. The T-cell response did not increase with a second dose of the vaccine, they said, which is consistent with other vaccines of this kind.

“The immune system has two ways of finding and attacking pathogens — antibody and T cell responses,” Oxford professor Andrew Pollard said in a release. “This vaccine is intended to induce both, so it can attack the virus when it’s circulating in the body, as well as attacking infected cells. We hope this means the immune system will remember the virus, so that our vaccine will protect people for an extended period.”

The vaccine was found to be well-tolerated and there were no serious adverse events, according to the researchers. Fatigue and headache were the most commonly reported, they said. Other common side effects included pain at the injection site, muscle ache, chills and a fever.

Adrian Hill, director of Oxford’s Jenner Institute, told CNBC on Monday the strong immune response means the vaccine is more likely to provide protection against the virus, though nothing is guaranteed. He said scientists hope to begin human trials in the United States in a few weeks.

A woman holds a small bottle labeled with a "Vaccine COVID-19" sticker and a medical syringe in this illustration taken April 10, 2020.
Dado Ruvic | Reuters

“We are using single-dose and two-dose of the vaccine,” he told “Worldwide Exchange.” “It looks like both give useful immune responses even though after two doses we see stronger immune responses.”

The potential vaccine is one of at least 100 being developed across the world for Covid-19, which has infected more than 14 million people worldwide and killed at least 606,206, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. At least 23 of the vaccine candidates are already in human trials, according to the World Health Organization.

Last week, biotech firm Moderna released promising data on its vaccine trial, saying it generated a “robust” immune response. That trial included 45 healthy participants and was run by the National Institutes of Health.

Earlier this month, pharmaceutical giant Pfizer, alongside German drugmaker BioNTech, released positive results from its closely watched early-stage human trial. The company said its vaccine produced neutralizing antibodies in all participants who received two of the 10 or 30 microgram doses after 28 days, according to the preliminary data.

AstraZeneca said in June it is working with industry partners to manufacture and distribute 2 billion doses of the vaccine with Oxford.

The drugmaker is ramping up manufacturing while trials are still underway so the vaccine can be publicly distributed as early as possible if it works, according to Richard Hatchett, CEO of the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, which is working with AstraZeneca on the drug’s production.

Participants were split into four groups. The researchers noted the early-stage trial had limitations, including lack of information on older adults, and those with underlying health conditions. They said these groups are being recruited in their ongoing late-stage trial of the vaccine in the U.K., Brazil and South Africa.

Participants recruited in this study will be followed-up for at least one year to continue to study the vaccine’s safety and the immune response it provokes.

While Oxford’s data is promising, scientists warn that questions remain about how the human body responds once it’s been infected with the virus. The answers, they say, may have important implications for vaccine development, including how quickly it can be deployed to the public.

One critical question among scientists is whether antibodies produced in response to Covid-19 offer protection against getting infected again.

Scientists hope the antibodies provide some degree of protection against getting Covid-19, but they can’t say that definitively yet since the virus was discovered just six months ago. It hasn’t been studied in depth and some patients appear to have been reinfected after recovering from Covid-19.

“I would say there’s a lot of optimism,” said Dr. Jonathan Abraham, a professor at Harvard Medical School’s Department of Microbiology and Immunobiology. “But I think the optimism is making a lot of assumptions. The assumptions include that what we’re seeing now is a type of infection where if you get infected and you’re reexposed shortly after that you won’t be infected again.”

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the top U.S. infectious disease expert, has repeatedly said he’s “cautiously optimistic” scientists will be able to create at least one safe and effective vaccine by the end of the year or early 2021.

—CNBC’s Saheli Roy Choudhury contributed to this report

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Customer Reviews

Ngoni Safaris Uganda

Customer Reviews

Michael T 06/June/2021

TripAdvisor
Above & Beyond
Review of: 3-Day Gorillas trekking and Batwa Experience
Sedrick went above and beyond to accomodate our request for an itinerary alteration due to our compressed time in Uganda. He also compeltely took care of scheduling our covid 19 testing and drove us to the site on arrival.

Our driver/guide Ben was also outstanding!

**We highly recommend using a porter during gorilla trekking as their are some complex parts to the trail/terrain. This also benefits the local people by providing them work.**

David 24/June/2021

TripAdvisor
Seeing Lots of Animals and Uganda
The schedule suited my time in Uganda exactly and was a great opportunity to view some of the top wildlife and natural wonders of the country. Lodgings range from mid-range to near upscale and are in beautiful locations. Food is good and ample. My driver, Stanley, was expert at spotting wildlife and, very importantly on the Ugandan roads, a careful and skilled driver. You see various parts of the country on this tour, and due to distances, be aware you'll spend quite a few hours on the road. One thing they might add is an itinerary going into more detail ahead of time on each day's activity and suggested things to bring. I was concerned about the needed COVID test for return home, but they took care of arranging that, and it turned out successfully. Overall the tour was a real highlight and is highly recommended.

Justo Nov 18, 2019

Safaribookings
I went on an 11 day safari visiting Kampala, Jinja, Lake Mburo NP, Bwindi NP, Queen Elizabeth NP and Kibale NP. Communications with Ngoni were prompt and easy from the start. As soon as I made my booking, Sedrick contacted me through WhatsApp and guided me through the rest of the process. Leading up to the tour he made sure I was well-prepared to begin. He was always very clear and friendly. Service was exceptional. I had the pleasure of going on this safari with three members of Ngoni's staff - Sedrick, Nelson and Joel. These guys made my comfort their priority from the moment we met. Whether it was checking if I was okay with the accommodations or making sure I always had a bottle of water, I always felt like I was being well taken care of. Nelson is an excellent guide. His knowledge about the flora and fauna of Uganda was extensive, always able to answer any questions I had and was eager to teach - it's obvious that he has a great love for his country and it's environment and is eager to share this love with his clients. My experience with Ngoni and Uganda surpassed all expectations I had. Absolutely amazing, and thanks to the guys at Ngoni it feels like a new home - can't wait to come back and visit. Webale, brothers!

Stephany Aug 13, 2019

https://www.safaribookings.com/operator/t17733
Sedrick was unique and stood out from the rest in the high quality communication he provided since the first inquiry. He called me to provide information about the itinerary and see if I had any questions even before booking the tour. We communicated through WhatsApp for any other questions that came to mind after that call. After picking me up from the airport, he and Pilot (additional tour guide) provided plenty of information about the country to give me some context and we started our long drive to the impenetrable forest. The food was delicious with many options; the accommodation was very clean with exceptional service; and the transportation from Entebbe to Bwindi park was very comfortable (although long). As a solo female traveler, both tour guides (Sedrick and Pilot) did an exceptional job at enduring I accomplished everything intended to in Uganda, and always made me feel safe. I highly recommend to book your safari with this company because the quality and professionalism will not let you down.

Shakira Dec 14, 2018

Ngoni safaris uganda is the best tour operator in Uganda. A few weeks back we traveled to Bwindi impenetrable with sedrick to explore the beauty that is Uganda. This company took care of us . with most comfortable car , Great guide .We highly recommend it to the next travelers

Winnie Dec 19, 2018

https://www.safaribookings.com/operator/t17733
I was going on a gorilla safari with my friend and this was going to be the first ever safari for the both of us. Luckily, the communication with the office was super easy and we got answers to all of the questions we needed. The driver / guide (Sedrick) was very professional and funny and made our time very pleasant. Also, he had a proper knowledge of the local area close to the Mgahinga national park and he promptly spoke some 7 languages which we thought was super positive. The safari was surely the highlight of out East African trip!

Ritah Jan 2, 2019

https://www.safaribookings.com/operator/t17733
My Team and I did a five day trip, including Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary, Murchison Falls and Kidepo. It was truly an incredible experience. Our guide, Sedrick, was knowledgeable, skilled in driving in some challenging settings and just plain fun to hang out with for five days. The lodging was perfect, especially Savannah Lodge. The tents and beds were high quality. The views were spectacular. Meals were delicious and varied. I recommend Ngoni safaris Uganda with all my heart and soul!

Pilot May 28, 2019

https://www.safaribookings.com/operator/t17733
Our six days trip was amazing. The driver/guide had an incredible knowledge of animal and bird-life and are so interesting to talk to. His driving skills through lashing rain and massive puddles was admirable! The cooks managed to produce varied and delicious meals from the kitchen, which we ate both at accommodation or roadside when we were travelling from one place to another . At all times we felt safe and well-looked after. All in all, an incredible experience, due not only to the abundance of wildlife we were lucky enough to see, but also to the great efforts put to have our Safari a better one . The safari was full of fun. Traveling with ngoni safaris is my life time memorable experience and I highly recommend it to travellers who would love to visit uganda or EastAfrica for holidays, vacations or Adventure.. Even five stars are too small .
 
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