Affordable, Single-Dose Vaccines Have Undergone the First Phase In Trials, And This Is Something That Could Save People

News Medical

It’s a disease that not too many people think about. Rabies is serious. In fact, many get it from animal bites and don’t think much of it until it’s too late. This disease is incurable. Patients who have been diagnosed with it often end up dying.

This is why doctors often urge their patients to get a rabies shot as soon as possible. Once the disease sets in, then there’s nothing much the person can do but wait it out until they stop breathing. But what if there are single dose vaccines in development right now? This is good news to many.

Researchers hailing from the University of Oxford have just reported new findings for their Phase 1 clinical trial. They are looking into the immune response and safety of their latest development – a  single-shot rabies vaccine. So far, they have seen wonderful results from it.

A total of 12 volunteers have been recruited for the study. Three of them got the low dose, the next three got the medium dose, and the final six got a high dose of the vaccine. As for the shot itself, it’s called ChAdOx2 RabG. So far, they have seen strong immune responses against rabies were seen many of the study participants, except for the first three that got the low dose.

The researchers behind this also made sure to test out the longer term immune response to this vaccine. They came to check the participants a year later, and six of the seven middle and high-dose recipients who went in for additional follow-up had managed to maintain neutralizing antibody levels that were beyond the protective threshold. The said threshold was set internationally by the WHO for rabies vaccines. This came as a proof that the immune response perpetuated even after a long period of time.

The existing rabies vaccines available in the hospital right now require either 2 or 3 dose procedures. While these have been around for a long time now, there are still an estimated number of 60,000 deaths all over the world each year. Sadly, patients that come from developing countries can afford only one shot. This means that the efficacy is at risk because each shot has its purpose. Nonetheless, they’re required to shell out money because the vaccine itself takes money to manufacture.

The rabies vaccines are not like Covid vaccines. Because the latter weren’t traditionally thought of as vaccines. Rather, these were very much targeted therapies that have been produced to identify the spike protein. As for, ChAdOx2 RabG, this creates dead viruses that code for a rabies glycoprotein. This allows the immune-system to spot the entire virus so it can destroy it before it affects the body.

“We’re absolutely delighted with these early results – the vaccine has performed even better than we had expected,” reported chief investigator on the trial, Sandy Douglas.

She also added, “The problems with existing rabies vaccines are that they are expensive and require multiple doses. We’re very hopeful that expanded trials in countries affected by rabies will prove that this new vaccine could enable routine, affordable, single-dose vaccination against this devastating disease for people living in such areas.”

Dr. Daniel Jenkin is the Lead Clinical Research Fellow of the trial at the Jenner Institute, University of Oxford. He also said, “New rabies vaccines based on modern vaccine technologies could become important tools in preventing the tens of thousands of rabies deaths that occur annually. Our strong early clinical trial data with ChAdOx2 RabG supports further development of this approach.”

The results have been published in Lancet Microbe.

As of today, a second phase of the trial will be done with 200 participants in Tanzania. They are expecting to see results during the latter part of this year.