Rutgers wants you to join J&J's COVID-19 vaccine clinical trial

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University of Oxford scientists expect to report results from the late-stage trials of their COVID-19 vaccine by Christmas, a key researcher said Thursday as he discussed the team's latest findings.

The two-dose vaccine was given to 560 healthy adult volunteers in a second-stage clinical trial, including 240 volunteers 70 years of age and older.

But rival drugmakers Pfizer Inc PFE.N , BioNTech 22UAy.F and Moderna Inc MRNA.O have in the past 10 days edged ahead, releasing data from late-stage COVID-19 vaccine trials that shows more than 90% efficacy.

Researchers say the results are "encouraging" because previous studies have found that the elderly have decreasing immune responses to vaccines with age.

CoronaVac is one of the 48 vaccine candidates for Covid-19 that are now in clinical trials.

"We were pleased to see that our vaccine was not only well tolerated in older adults, but also stimulated similar immune responses to those seen in younger volunteers".

For most vaccines, older adults do not exhibit as strong a response as younger adults, and vaccine-induced antibodies commonly display a lower protective capacity.

Whether CoronaVac actually prevents people catching the coronavirus is now being assessed in phase 3 studies in Brazil, Indonesia and Turkey, along with the closely watched T-cell response triggered by the vaccine. Adding that, "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".

"It was also quite clear that two doses of vaccine are better than one dose".

"It's critical to have diverse participants in a coronavirus vaccine trial so we know it is effective for populations that are often underrepresented in research", said XinQi Dong, who's directing community recruitment for the Johnson & Johnson trial.

All the vaccines are still undergoing Phase 3 clinical trials.

For the trial testing effectives, one group is given two doses of the vaccine and another group is given the placebo.

Having published its Phase 2 results on Thursday, Oxford is a step behind its rivals and many are wondering why Oxford's results are slower in coming, especially as virus levels are high in the areas it is being tested including in the UK, South Africa and Brazil. ChAdOx1 is the vaccine's experimental name. Instead, it looked at safety indicators and the body's immune response.

Almost one million people have taken an experimental coronavirus vaccine developed by China National Pharmaceutical Group (Sinopharm) through the country's emergency use programme, the firm said late on Wednesday.

An infectious diseases expert has warned the "virus will fight back" against efforts to secure a Covid-19 vaccination, ensuring that having proven protection against the disease is not the end of the story.