Coronavirus vaccine trials continued in UK

Researchers from the UK and Switzerland have continued to test the coronavirus vaccine, which has reached the third phase of testing. Scientists previously suspected that the drug could cause spinal cord inflammation.

The Swedish-British company AstraZeneca will continue testing a vaccine against coronavirus. Researchers developed it in conjunction with the University of Oxford. The trials continued after the UK authorities tested the drug and confirmed its safety. The test happened after one of the participants in the trial became ill.

They suspended vaccine trials on September 6 – researchers found transverse myelitis in one of the volunteers. This is an inflammation of the spinal cord that affects a part of the width of the spinal cord. It is characterized by weakness and numbness of the extremities, deficits in sensitivity, and motor skills. Scientists did not rule out that the cause of the disease was the AstraZeneca vaccine.

AstraZeneca’s coronavirus vaccine is one of several in the world that has made it to the third phase of trials. Others include vaccines from Moderna, Pfizer/BioNTech, and companies from China, as well as Russia’s Sputnik V.

AZD1222 is developed by Oxford University and Vaccitech company. It uses a chimpanzee viral vector based on an attenuated version of the common cold virus that causes infections in chimpanzees and contains SARS-CoV-2 genetic material. After vaccination, a surface spike is produced that prepares the immune system to attack the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

The results, published in The Lancet, confirmed that AZD1222 administration resulted in a fourfold increase in SARS-CoV-2 spike antibodies in 95% of participants one month after vaccination. All participants showed activation of the T-cell immune response, which peaked at day 14 and persisted for 2 months after injection.