A COVID-19 vaccine being developed by researchers at the University of Oxford is “safe and induces an immune reaction” according to the findings of the first phase of human trials. The results, based on 1,077 healthy adults found that the vaccine induced strong antibody and T-cell immune responses up to day 56 of the ongoing trial, according to the medical journal, Lancet.
T-cells are significant, as they determine whether the body can maintain protection against the virus for years. The UK has already ordered 100 million doses of the vaccine which is being developed in partnership between Oxford University and pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca. The Lancet also stated that the vaccine caused only minor side effects, some of which could be reduced by taking paracetamol.
FDA Opens Door to ‘Batch Testing’ for COVID-19 With New Green Lights for Quest Diagnostics
The FDA authorized its first COVID-19 diagnostic test for pools of samples to let laboratories conserve resources by evaluating several people at once. Say, for example, you have four individuals who need to be screened for the novel coronavirus—such as a family or a group of employees. After collecting nasal swabs from each person, a portion of the samples could be combined and tested within a single batch—a single negative result would put them all in the clear, but a positive reading would lead to each sample being tested separately.
“Sample pooling becomes especially important as infection rates decline and we begin testing larger portions of the population,” said FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn, M.D., in an agency statement. However, infection rates are currently climbing in many states and localities across the U.S.—raising the national average per capita, with new daily confirmed cases topping 77,000 this past week. At the same time, widespread demand for coronavirus testing and strains on diagnostic supplies—from chemical reagents to swabs to sterile containers—have led to backlogs and long turnaround times for results.