Preliminary results for Oxford University's coronavirus vaccine are in – and they're looking "extremely promising", according to one member of its research group.
The experimental vaccine has been deemed safe and has generated a strong immune response in the 1,077 volunteers that signed up to help trial the drug.
The results, published in The Lancet medical journal on Monday, show that those injected with the vaccine created antibodies and T-cells in their blood that can fight off COVID-19.
"We're really pleased with the results published today as we're seeing both neutralising antibodies and T-cells," Oxford researcher Prof Andrew Pollard told the BBC.
"They're extremely promising and we believe the type of response that may be associated with protection."
However, Pollard cautions that more research needs to be done before confirming that the vaccine gives effective and long-lasting protection against the virus. "We're in a waiting game," he adds.
The vaccine – called ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 – is one of over 140 vaccines that scientists around the world are racing to create to cut short the ongoing pandemic.
Phase 3 trials of the Oxford vaccine involving 5,000 volunteers in Brazil have already started. The results will be compared against a placebo and will confirm its effectiveness in treating coronavirus.
The UK has secured early access to 90 million doses of promising COVID-19 vaccine candidates on top of 100 million doses of the Oxford University vaccine. It has also launched an online registry to allow members of the public to sign up for future vaccine studies.
Business secretary Alok Sharma said in a statement: "The hunt to find a vaccine is a truly global endeavour and we are doing everything we can to ensure the British public get access to a safe and effective coronavirus vaccine as soon as possible."