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New Covid vaccine begins recruiting for trial

Covid vaccine, booster

By Beth Gault
26 April 2021

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Researchers of the latest Covid-19 vaccine have begun recruiting volunteers for a trial of the new jab.

The vaccine has been developed by vaccine company Valneva and is the only inactivated, adjuvanted vaccine in clinical development in Europe, according to the company.

It follows initial results from the first stages of the vaccine study, which showed the dose was ‘well tolerated with no safety concerns identified’.

The trial will run across 22 National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) sites in England and two in Scotland. It is open to 4,000 healthy adults who have not previously had a Covid-19 vaccine.

Those in the trial will receive either two doses of the Valneva vaccine or the AstraZeneca vaccine. There will not be a placebo, as there has been in other trials.

However, volunteers aged between 18-19 will not be offered the AstraZeneca vaccine but can still be enrolled on the trial to receive the Valneva jab.

This follows the advice that under 30s should not be offered the AstraZeneca vaccine as a precautionary measure, due to the risk of rare blood clots.

If the trial is successful, Valneva hopes to submit the vaccine to the regulator for initial approval in autumn 2021. Up to 250 million vaccine doses could be supplied to the UK and other countries, according to the company.

The UK has already secured up to 100 million doses of this vaccine, which is being manufactured in Livingstone, West Lothian.

So far, the AstraZeneca, Pfizer and Moderna Covid-19 vaccines have been approved by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), of which the UK has secured 100 million doses, 40 million doses and 17 million doses respectively.

The Government’s vaccines taskforce has also secured 30 million doses of the Janssen vaccine, 60 million doses of the Novavax jab, 60 million doses of the GlaxoSmithKline and Sanofi Pasteur vaccine and 50 million doses of the CureVac. These are yet to be approved by the MHRA.

Professor Andrew Ustianowski, national clinical lead for the UK NIHR Covid vaccine research programme, said: ‘Off the back of positive early research data, it is great to see the final stage of the Valneva study begin across the UK, coordinated by the NIHR Clinical Research Network.

‘Evaluating an additional vaccine candidate to help protect the population against Covid-19 is vital in our efforts to ensure that we have effective vaccines that work for everybody.’

Professor Adam Finn, chief investigator for the Valneva study, said: ‘We definitely need more vaccines to help us out of this pandemic and this one is a very promising candidate.’

Volunteers will be vaccinated at the beginning of May.

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