Imperial College London begins human trials of new Covid-19 vaccine

Henrietta Strickland
June 17, 2020

USA government officials also said that they expect many Americans to get an approved vaccine to prevent COVID-19 at no charge once it begins distribution, potentially in January.

Robin Shattock, who is leading the vaccine research, said, "In the long term, a viable vaccine would be the key to saving the most vulnerable people, which would ease restrictions and help people return to normal life".

"For any American who is vulnerable, who can not afford the vaccines, and desires the vaccine, we will provide it for free", a USA government official said during a call with reporters, requesting anonymity. Scientists and researchers from many countries of the world are busy in making the corona vaccine and medicine.

If all goes well, the vaccine could be available next spring, according to ICL, which has been awarded £41m ($52m) in backing from the United Kingdom government to accelerate development of the vaccine, as well as another £5m in donations from the public.

The initial safety trial will involve two doses given to 300 patients.

If the vaccine is shown to be safe and shows a promising immune response, Imperial said that larger phase 3 trials could begin later in the year with around 6,000 healthy volunteers to test its effectiveness.

As of June 9, about 126 Covid-19 vaccine candidates were in pre-clinical evaluation stage and 10 in clinical evaluation stage, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). "The vaccine can then be rolled out to more people in the United Kingdom and beyond in pivotal trials". The combined Phase I/II studies will aim to deliver the vaccine to a total of 300 people at the west London facility and additional sites.

Many traditional vaccines are based on a weakened or modified form of virus, or parts of it, but the Imperial vaccine is based on a new approach.

The Imperial College vaccine candidate uses synthetic strands of the novel coronavirus' genetic code to generate an antibody response.

The vaccine being evaluated by Singapore's Duke-NUS Medical School works on the relatively-untested Messenger RNA (mRNA) technology, which instructs human cells to make specific coronavirus proteins that produce an immune response.

This should train the immune system to respond to the coronavirus so the body can easily recognise it and defend itself against COVID-19 in future.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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