Coronavirus: Chinese vaccine 'safe', triggers immune response

Pair of studies showed vaccine prevented coronavirus infection in monkeys; produced antibodies

Healthy volunteers were ages 18 to 60, who tested negative for IgM and IgG antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 and had clear chest CT images with no evidence of lesions in the lungs.

A new coronavirus vaccine which has safely triggered an immune response to the lethal infection in its first phase trial has been described as "encouraging".

The researchers found that the Ad5 vaccine candidate was well tolerated at all doses with no serious side effects within 28 days of vaccination.

On day 14, all the participants showed the presence of antibodies which peaked at day 28 and T-cell response peaked at day 14 after the vaccination.

"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". He says that all of the vaccines will need to go through large, Phase III trials before they become available, bringing their timelines close together.

The scientists said their vaccine produces virus-specific antibodies and immune cells in 14 days, but cautioned that more research is needed to determine whether it actually protects against the infection.

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Over 80% of participants reported at least one adverse event within 7 days of vaccination, though the authors noted no statistically significant differences in the number of adverse reactions across groups. One participant who was given the higher dose vaccine reported severe fever, along with severe symptoms of fatigue, shortness of breath and muscle pain. Many such trials are underway. Other placebo-controlled trial results are expected starting later this summer.

Previous studies with MERS (Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome) and SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) have shown that antibodies quickly declined in patients after recovery, even though T-cells played an important role in maintaining immunity.

Barouch's team reports in Science that 35 days after the original infection, they gave the monkeys the same doses of SARS-CoV-2 as each had received initially. In addition, the healing reaction - a process of new vessel growth called intussusceptive angiogenesis - was 30 times higher than normal in the COVID-19 lungs, study coauthor Dr. William Li, medical director of the Angiogenesis Foundation, said in a statement. "These results suggest that natural sunlight may be effective for significantly reducing the amount of virus on exposed surfaces, such as mailboxes, playground equipment, and shopping carts left outdoors in the sunlight", a spokesman for the researchers told Reuters.

- Proteins - such as the spike protein - or virus-like particles that allow the body to learn to identify the virus without being exposed to it (because it would be exposed to the outermost part of the virus, not the genetic material it uses to reproduce).

A COVID-19 vaccine candidate under development by China's CanSino Biologics is moving forward in development after the company published data supporting its safety in patients. Adequate data is not yet available on USA survival rates for in-hospital resuscitation of COVID-19 patients and the Chinese data may not be applicable, researchers wrote in a paper published on Friday in Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes, an American Heart Association journal.

Earlier this year, research investigating cynomolgus macaques found these animals to be promising models for testing COVID-19 therapeutics. The study authors are members of the American Heart Association "Get With The Guidelines" Resuscitation Investigators panel.

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