A safe single-shot vaccine for COVID-19 has been successfully trialed in Rhesus macaques, one of our closest relatives, and human trials began today.
The Johnson & Johnson vaccine called Ad26 was produced using a common cold virus, an organism that stimulates our immune system. In 52 of the primates, robust antibody activity neutralized the viral functions and properties of the Sars-COV-2 virus.
“The optimal Ad26 vaccine induced robust neutralizing antibody responses and provided complete or near-complete protection in bronchoalveolar lavage and nasal swabs following SARS-CoV-2 challenge,” read the study, published in Nature by scientists from the Center for Virology and Vaccine Research at Harvard.
This protection aspect is critical, as Ad26 produced “complete or near-complete protection” in the respiratory tract, a theorized necessity for any COVID-19 vaccine since that is the principle way in which the virus has spread across the globe.
It was clear that the observed antibody response was elicited by the vaccine, while also correlating with the efficacy rating of the defense following administration. These results suggested that the protective effects observed were due to the vaccine and not the monkey’s immune system.
“These data demonstrate robust single-shot vaccine protection against SARS-CoV-2 in nonhuman primates. The optimal Ad26 vector-based vaccine for SARS-CoV-2, termed Ad26.COV2.S, is currently being evaluated in clinical trials,” finished the Harvard team.
Funded by the U.S. government, the drugmaker said it had started early-stage human trials in the US and Belgium, according to Reuters, and would test its vaccine candidate in more than 1,000 healthy adults aged 18 to 55 years, as well as older adults.
The authors noted that a single-shot vaccine, as Ad26 would likely be, is the perfect solution for the pandemic, but admitted a two-dose administration would produce a stronger immune defense.
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