Pigs used in COVID-19 vaccine trial at Pirbright Institute

Studies at Pirbright show that two doses of Oxford University's COVID-19 vaccine boosts immune response in pigs.
calendar icon 23 June 2020
clock icon 5 minute read

The researchers also compared the effect of a second vaccine dose on T-cell responses. Although their activity was not significantly boosted, the Pirbright study demonstrates that the ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 vaccine also produces robust T-cell responses, which may play an important role in SARS-CoV-2 infection.

Professor Simon Graham, the lead author of the study, said: “While it remains to be determined what immune responses are required to effectively protect people against COVID-19, the demonstration that ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 induces both neutralising antibody and T cell responses is very encouraging. It is likely that a combination of these responses would act in synergy to prevent and control infection, as we and others have recently shown in the context of experimental flu vaccines.”

This study provides further information on the optimum number of doses that may be required to provide maximum protection against SARS-CoV-2 infection. Comparing the results of these studies with responses seen in humans will demonstrate whether pigs are valuable models that can be used for further evaluation of the immune responses generated by ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 and other COVID-19 vaccine candidates.

Professor Melanie Welham, Executive Chair for the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, part of UK Research and Innovation said: “These are promising recent results, highlighting the importance of the UK’s national research capabilities and the value of long-term investment in people, infrastructure and programmes. This example demonstrates how such expertise can respond quickly in times of national emergency, contributing vital new knowledge.”

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