A coronavirus vaccine developed by the University of Oxford appears safe and triggers an immune response.
Trials involving 1,077 people showed the injection led to them making antibodies and T-cells that can fight coronavirus.
The findings are hugely promising, but it is still too soon to know if this is enough to offer protection and larger trials are under way.
The UK has already ordered 100 million doses of the vaccine.
How does the vaccine work?
The vaccine – called ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 – is being developed at unprecedented speed.
It is made from a genetically engineered virus that causes the common cold in chimpanzees.
It has been heavily modified, first so it cannot cause infections in people and also to make it “look” more like coronavirus.
Scientists did this by transferring the genetic instructions for the coronavirus’s “spike protein” – the crucial tool it uses to invade our cells – to the vaccine they were developing.
This means the vaccine resembles the coronavirus and the immune system can learn how to attack it.
What are antibodies and T-cells?
Much of the focus on coronavirus so far has been about antibodies, but these are only one part of our immune defence.
Antibodies are small proteins made by the immune system that stick onto the surface of viruses.
Neutralising antibodies can disable the coronavirus.
T-cells, a type of white blood cell, help coordinate the immune system and are able to spot which of the body’s cells have been infected and destroy them.
Nearly all effective vaccines induce both an antibody and a T-cell response.