The government’s coronavirus advisory expert group plans to propose to the Cyprus health ministry that it orders a quantity of vaccines being developed by scientists at Oxford University, advisory group member Petros Karayiannis said Tuesday.
Karayiannis said the island’s coronavirus experts will be proposing that Cyprus puts in an order for an initial 200,000 vaccines that would serve vulnerable groups and the elderly. A total of 900,000 vaccines would be needed to cater to the entire Cyprus population.
Noting that the specific vaccine being developed at the UK’s University of Oxford appears safe and effective, Karayiannis said that the UK itself has ordered 100 million doses of the vaccine, which is expected to be available in early November and will be ready to be exported three weeks later.
Karayiannis said the company involved in the development of the vaccine, AstraZeneca, is well-known and appears to be cooperating with Brazil and Russia for the task at hand, meaning that the vaccine is expected to be produced in large quantities.
Karayiannis explained that the effects of this vaccine are two-fold. On the one hand, it creates antibodies and on the other, the vaccine activates part of the immune system called cellular immunity, which kills off infected cells, with minimal side-effects.
Trials involving 1,077 people showed the injection led to them making antibodies and T-cells that can fight coronavirus, though as promising as the findings appear to be, it is still too soon to know if the protection offered is effective, with larger trials involving more than 10,000 people underway in the UK. Trials are also expected to take place in the US (30,000 people), South Africa (2,000 people) and Brazil (5,000 people).
Though none of the participants of the trial developed any dangerous side-effects, 70% developed either fever or headache, which the researchers say can be managed with paracetamol.
The vaccine, called ChAdOx1 nCoV-19, is being developed at unprecedented speed, and it is made from a genetically engineered virus that causes the common cold in chimpanzees.