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Coronavirus vaccine latest update: When will we know if the Oxford vaccine works?

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Pfizer and Moderna cast a ray of hope over the world this month, as the US pharmaceutical giants came forward with two groundbreaking vaccines. Preliminary studies found both prevented COVID-19 infection in 95 percent of cases and could enter public consumption by mid-2021. But British efforts, lead by the Oxford vaccine group, have not yielded public results as of yet.

When will we know if the Oxford vaccine works?

The Pfizer and Moderna teams released their results over the last two weeks, with world leaders, among them Boris Johnson, quick to remind the public of the vaccine doses they secured.

The Government has ordered millions of doses of both vaccines, ready to roll out after delivery from the US.

At home, Oxford researchers continue to work on their own promising development, but they don’t foresee any imminent announcements.

Oxford scientists have worked in tandem with UK-based biopharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca on their vaccine.

Much like their US counterparts, the UK vaccine team has reached stage three of its development process, but results could take a little longer.

Early data has shown their vaccine produces robust results for older adults, with a full spectrum of late-stage trial data expected by Christmas.

So far, early data published in medical journal the Lancet shows those over 70 – who have an increased risk of complications from COVID-19 – retain their vaccine-given immunity.

Analysis of 560 adults given the vaccine showed a notable antibody response 28 days after injection.

Maheshi Ramasamy, a consultant and co-lead investigator at the Oxford Vaccine Group hailed the preliminary results as “encouraging”, but said his team needs to continue research.

He said: “The robust antibody and T-cell responses seen in older people in our study are encouraging.

“We hope that this means our vaccine will help to protect some of the most vulnerable people in society, but further research will be needed before we can be sure.”

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More conclusive results akin to those of Moderna or Pfizer should come by the winter.

Professor Andrew Pollard, the vaccine group’s director, said his team could release results by Christmas.

He added it was still too early to determine whether their vaccine could effectively prevent COVID-19.

Professor Pollard said: “We’re still waiting to get to the point where we can do the analysis to just work out how well the vaccine can protect people, and we’re getting ever closer to that.”

“We are optimistic that we’ll be able to do that before Christmas, and obviously we’ll share that with you as soon as we can at that point.”

Professor Pollard added Oxford was “not in a rush” to provide results, and denied competition with their American colleagues.

No vaccine has crossed the development finish line as of yet, however, with several stages still to go.

Although they have released results, Moderna and Pfizer have to undergo review from a litany of organisations, among them the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and several country-specific groups, each of which will have their own certification criteria.

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