Finally, some good news.

Courtesy of CNBC:

A potential coronavirus vaccine developed by Oxford University with pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca has produced a promising immune response in a large, early-stage human trial, according to newly released data published Monday in the medical journal The Lancet.

The researchers are calling their experimental vaccine ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 (AZD1222). It combines genetic material from the coronavirus with a modified adenovirus that is known to cause infections in chimpanzees. The phase one trial had more than 1,000 participants in people ages 18 to 55.

The researchers said the vaccine produced antibodies and killer T-cells to combat the infection that lasted at least two months. Neutralizing antibodies, which scientists believe is important to gain protection against the virus, were detected in participants. The T-cell response did not increase with a second dose of the vaccine, they said, which is consistent with other vaccines of this kind.

“The immune system has two ways of finding and attacking pathogens — antibody and T cell responses,” Oxford professor Andrew Pollard said in a release. “This vaccine is intended to induce both, so it can attack the virus when it’s circulating in the body, as well as attacking infected cells. We hope this means the immune system will remember the virus, so that our vaccine will protect people for an extended period.”

The vaccine was found to be well-tolerated and there were no serious adverse events, according to the researchers. Fatigue and headache were the most commonly reported, they said. Other common side effects included pain at the injection site, muscle ache, chills and a fever.

Adrian Hill, director of Oxford’s Jenner Institute, told CNBC on Monday the strong immune response means the vaccine is more likely to provide protection against the virus, though nothing is guaranteed. He said scientists hope to begin human trials in the United States in a few weeks.

While this is potentially very good news we need to keep in mind that even if further trials remain positive that it could still be a year or more until this vaccine is made available to the public. 

Until then all we have is the tools that we have been using thus far, which include social distancing, masks, and constant hand washing.