London: An experimental COVID-19 vaccine, being developed by the University of Oxford, was safe and produced an immune response in early-stage clinical trials in healthy volunteers, data showed on Monday.

News agency Reuters reports that the vaccine, called AZD1222 and being developed by pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca and scientists at Britain’s University of Oxford, did not prompt any serious side effects and elicited antibody and T-cell immune responses, according to trial results published in The Lancet medical journal.

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“We hope this means the immune system will remember the virus, so that our vaccine will protect people for an extended period,” study lead author Andrew Pollard of the University of Oxford said.

“However, we need more research before we can confirm the vaccine effectively protects against SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) infection, and for how long any protection lasts,” he said.

AstraZeneca’s is among the leading vaccine candidates against a pandemic that has claimed more than 600,000 lives, alongside others in mid and late-stage trials.

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Researchers said the vaccine caused minor side effects more frequently than a control group, but some of these could be reduced by taking paracetamol, with no serious adverse events from the vaccine.

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