Valneva has today (Wednesday 16 December) started UK clinical trials for its promising COVID-19 vaccine, currently being developed in West Lothian, Scotland.
Speciality vaccine company Valneva’s candidate will initially be tested on 150 UK volunteers at four National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) testing sites in Birmingham, Bristol, Newcastle and Southampton. These early phase 1 and 2 trials will show whether the vaccine produces a safe and effective immune response against COVID-19.
Should this early trial prove successful, larger clinical trials will be planned for April 2021 with over 4,000 UK volunteers testing 2 doses of the vaccine in 2 groups: those aged between 18-65 years and over 65s.
The UK government has already pre-ordered Valneva’s vaccine candidate and should studies prove it to be safe and effective, 60 million doses could be made available to the UK by the end of 2021.
This latest milestone follows a multi-million-pound up-front investment announced in August by the UK government and Valneva to expand its Livingston facility. This supports over 100 highly skilled jobs for technicians and scientists at the West Lothian site, while advancing Scotland’s vaccine manufacturing capacity.
Through this investment, if Valneva’s vaccine candidate proves successful, this permanent facility will potentially have the capacity to supply up to 250 million vaccine doses to the UK and internationally.
Valneva’s vaccine is the fifth to enter clinical trials in the UK, alongside Oxford/AstraZeneca, Imperial College London, Novavax and Janssen, whose studies are currently ongoing.
Business Secretary Alok Sharma, said:
Secretary of State for Scotland Alister Jack said:
The UK was the first country in the world to both procure and authorise the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, ordering 40 million doses – enough for around a third of the population. The UK was also the first country in the West to start a mass COVID-19 vaccination programme, which began on 8 December.
In total, the UK government has developed a portfolio of 7 different vaccine candidates and secured access to 357 million doses to date, putting the UK in the best position for a vaccine and increasing chances of finding vaccines that work for different people.
Some of the volunteers taking part in Valneva’s clinical trials came through from the NHS Vaccines Registry, allowing the UK public to support the national effort to speed up vaccine research. Over 364,000 people have already signed up to the Registry, with more needed.
Additional information about volunteering for clinical studies can be found by visiting the NHS site to join the NHS Vaccine Research Registry.
The Registry was launched by the UK government in partnership with the NIHR, NHS Digital, the Scottish and Welsh governments and the Northern Ireland Executive in July. It aims to help create a database of people who consent to be contacted by the NHS to take part in clinical studies, to help speed up the development of a safe and effective vaccine.