Oxford vaccine ‘will give long term protection’
Published: 10:44 AM, 5 July 2020
Prof Sarah Gilbert who runs Oxford-backed study told MPs she was 'optimistic' that the vaccine made by Oxford scientists is capable of building long-term resistance against coronavirus.
She said: ‘Vaccines have a different way of engaging with the immune system, and we follow people in our studies using the same type of technology to make the vaccines for several years, and we still see strong immune responses.
‘It’s something we have to test and follow over time – we can’t know until we actually have the data – but we’re optimistic based on earlier studies that we will see a good duration of immunity, for several years at least, and probably better than naturally-acquired immunity.’
Asked for a timeline on the vaccine, after the prospect was raised of facing the winter without one, Professor Gilbert told the committee: ‘I hope we can improve on those timelines and come to your rescue.’
Some 8,000 Britons are taking part in a major trial of the Oxford vaccine, which is being manufactured by pharmaceutical firm AstraZeneca. But, as rates of coronavirus have fallen in this country, researchers are also aiming to vaccinate 4,000 individuals in Brazil and 2,000 in South Africa.
Kate Bingham, head of the UK’s Vaccine Taskforce, told MPs she was less optimistic that the jab could protect against catching the infection and it's more likely it will only reduce the severity of symptoms.
She told the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee: 'I'm relatively optimistic we will find a vaccine that will be able to treat the population.