Does it differ to Pfizer and Moderna’s vaccines?
Yes. The jabs from Pfizer and Moderna are messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccines.
Conventional vaccines are produced using weakened forms of the virus, but mRNAs use only the virus’s genetic code.
An mRNA vaccine is injected into the body where it enters cells and tells them to create antigens.
These antigens are recognised by the immune system and prepare it to fight coronavirus.
No virus is needed to create an mRNA vaccine. This means the rate at which the vaccine can be produced is accelerated.
On November 20, however, Pfizer/ BioNTech they had sent their vaccine for emergency approval in the US. They are the first pharmaceutical organisation to apply for such authorisation for a coronavirus vaccine, and approval would mean that the first shipment will leave ‘within hours’. This suggests people in the UK may receive the Pfizer by early-mid December.
What about antibodies and T-cells?
The Pfizer, AstraZeneca and Moderna vaccines have been shown to provoke both an antibody and T-cell response.
Antibodies are proteins that bind to the body’s foreign invaders and tell the immune system it needs to take action.
T-cells are a type of white blood cell which hunt down infected cells in the body and destroy them.
Nearly all effective vaccines induce both responses.
The Oxford vaccine induces robust antibody and T-cell responses across people of all ages, the data indicates.
Can the Oxford vaccine be manufactured to scale?
Yes. The UK Government has secured 100 million doses as part of its contract, enough for most of the population.
The head of the UK Vaccine Taskforce, Kate Bingham, has said she is confident it can be produced at scale.
Experts hope the jab could be ready to go and rolled out shortly.