Oxford vaccine to be manufactured at Keele shows strong immune response

The Oxford coronavirus vaccine - which is set to be manufactured at Keele following an agreement between Cobra Biologics and AstraZeneca UK - shows a strong immune response in adults in their 60s and 70s, raising hopes that it can protect age groups most at risk from the virus. 

Researchers say the Lancet phase two findings, based on 560 healthy adult volunteers, are "encouraging".  

They are also testing whether the vaccine stops people developing Covid-19 in larger, phase three trials. Early results from this stage are expected in the coming weeks. For more information about the study read about it here

Cobra Biologics, which has two facilities on Keele University’s Science and Innovation Park, has signed a supply agreement with the global pharmaceutical giant to manufacture vaccine candidate AZD1222, previously known as ChAdOX1 n-CoV-19. 

The production agreement is part of a programme with the University of Oxford to ensure broad and equitable supply of the vaccine throughout the world, at no profit during the Covid-19 pandemic. 

The agreement is a further development of Cobra’s announcement in March 2020, where it confirmed that it was working as part of a consortium with the Jenner Institute, University of Oxford, and others, to rapidly develop, scale-up and produce a vaccine against Covid-19. 

Cobra, along with other consortium members, is providing large-scale manufacturing capacity for the vaccine. 

Keele University also supported the second part of the REACT-2 programme, led by Imperial College London, which saw new diagnostic tests trialled in a temporary testing centre on the Keele campus. 

The study found novel ways of detecting Covid-19 antigens and antibodies and assessed how well these tests can be adapted to a home testing environment without assistance from a healthcare professional. 

Professor Mark Ormerod, Keele University Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Provost, said: “I am delighted that the University is able to support these two pivotal activities in the fight against Covid-19. Not only have we been working with Imperial College to evaluate tests that has guided the Government’s planning for testing on a national scale, but a potentially game-changing vaccine against the virus is also set to be manufactured at Keele by one of our longest-serving tenants. 

“These programmes have the potential to significantly influence the future management of the virus both in the UK and across the world, and I am proud that Keele and its partners are able to contribute to this global fight.”  

For more information on what Keele University is doing as part of the national effort to tackle Covid-19, visit keele.ac.uk/coronavirus/response