Oxford University's candidate for coronavirus vaccine fails animal tests

The ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 being tested is a weakened form a common cold virus (adenovirus) that affects chimpanzees but has been neutered to prevent replication in humans
The quest to find a vaccine for coronavirus (Covid-19) has hit a roadblock with the Oxford University candidate for the vaccine failing in tests, reports Indian Express. Known as ChAdOx1 nCoV-19, the vaccine was not able to stop the virus from getting into the rhesus macaque monkey. The rhesus macaque is a primate and a native of  Southeast Asia. 

The vaccine's failure to prevent the virus from attacking the rhesus macaque is a setback and kills the hope of treating humans. The vaccine is under human trials in Britian. However, the vaccine did work against pneumonia. A research paper available on pre-print server bioRxiv says that the vaccine may not be able to stop the virus from attacking humans and contain further spread.  

The ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 being tested is a weakened form a common cold virus (adenovirus) that affects chimpanzees but has been neutered to prevent replication in humans. The British government has brokered a deal between Oxford University and the drug company AstraZeneca to produce up to 30 million doses if it proves successful, having ploughed pound 47 million into the research, according to The Telegraph. 

"All of the vaccinated monkeys treated with the Oxford vaccine became infected when challenged as judged by the recovery of virus genomic RNA from nasal secretions," Dr William Haseltine, a former Harvard Medical School professor who had a pivotal role in the development of early HIV/Aids treatments, told The Telegraph.

"There was no difference in the amount of viral RNA detected from this site in the vaccinated monkeys as compared to the unvaccinated animals. Which is to say, all vaccinated animals were infected," Dr Haseltine wrote in an article on Forbes. 

The trials probing the immune response to the ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 in rhesus macaque were carried out at the National Institute of Health's Rocky Mountain Laboratory in the US, with initial results published at the end of April, reported The Telegraph.

The full trial results published last week showed the vaccine did not prevent the animals from catching the virus. However, there was signs it may reduce the severity of the infection.


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