Researchers at Oxford University have hopeful—but very early—news to report about their coronavirus vaccine candidate. Those who got the shot in a small trial developed antibodies with no ill effects, they report in the Lancet medical journal. The BBC calls the results "hugely promising" but adds that bigger trials must follow. This particular trial involved about 1,000 people, of whom half received Oxford's ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 vaccine. "We are seeing good immune response in almost everybody," says Dr. Adrian Hill, director of the Jenner Institute at Oxford University, per the AP. "What this vaccine does particularly well is trigger both arms (antibodies and T-cells) of the immune system."
Hill says the antibodies developed by study participants were at levels comparable to those developed by people who've recovered from COVID-19. So what next? A bigger trial with about 10,000 people is underway in the UK, and another with 30,000 participants is scheduled to begin soon in the US. The UK already has ordered 100 million doses, and drugmaker AstraZeneca, which is partnering with Oxford, has pledged to make 2 billion doses. The vaccine is based on a genetically engineered virus that causes colds in chimpanzees, but it's modified to deliver the coronavirus's "spike protein" into the body. (In the US, a vaccine by Moderna also is showing promise in early results.)