It stimulates the immune system’s response against the novel coronavirus, but it is still unclear whether it will effectively protect against infection. These are, in summary, the preliminary results of the tests for the vaccine candidate Chinese anti Covid-19 «BBIBP-CorV». The phase 1-2 trial was conducted in China from 29 April to 30 July on over 600 healthy volunteers between 18 and 80 years old. Various institutions are involved, including the Henan Provincial Center for Disease Control and Prevention and the Beijing Institute of Biological Products. The data was published in the journal The Lancet Infectious Diseases. The study highlighted one antibody response in all participants, with different times according to age: 42 days for the over 60s compared to 28 days for people in the 18-59 age group. Furthermore, the levels of antibodies recorded in the elderly are lower than those developed by the young. This last figure is not surprising, given that the immune system becomes weaker with age. In phase 1-2 it has not yet been adequately assessed whether the antibody response induced by the vaccine candidate is sufficiently protective against SarsCov2 infection. You will understand this at the end of phase 3.
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The other candidates
There are 182 vaccine candidates in the early stages of evaluation. For ‘BBIBP-CorV’, stocks of the virus were grown in the laboratory using cell lines from an isolated patient sample. Then they were inactivated thanks to a particular chemical compound. Another component was later added, aluminum hydroxide, known to enhance the immune response. At the moment a few dozen vaccine candidates I am in phase 3, the most advanced, or about to enter. Carlo Federico Perno, virologist and director of the Microbiology Unit at the Bambino Gesù Children’s Hospital in Rome, in a recent interview al Courier service explained that many of these preparations stimulate the production of large quantities of antibodies, capable of neutralizing the coronavirus, but for all real effectiveness has yet to be demonstrated against the disease. “In phase 3, called registration, we check whether the vaccine candidate really has the ability to protect us,” says Perno. The preparation is administered to a sample of people considered at risk for the possibility of contracting the infection. Then the results are compared with those of another sample, which can be given a “placebo” or nothing. It is thus possible to demonstrate whether the candidate vaccine really functions as a “shield” against the virus. Only at that point can it be defined as a full-fledged vaccine.