UK scientists to immunize hundreds with coronavirus vaccine

Scientists at Imperial College London say they are immunizing hundreds of people with an experimental coronavirus vaccine in an early trial after not seeing worrying safety concerns in a small number vaccinated so far.

Read also: COVID-19: the United Kingdom signs an agreement for 60 million doses of vaccines

Dr. Robin Shattock, a professor at the university, said The Associated Press that he and his colleagues had just completed a very slow and arduous process of testing the vaccine at a low dose in the initial participants and would now extend the trial to some 300 people, including some over the age of 75.

“It is well tolerated. There are no side effects, ”he said, adding that it was still very early in the study. Shattock, who is leading the vaccine investigation at Imperial, said he hopes to have enough safety data to start inoculating several thousand people in October.

Since COVID-19 infections have been dramatically reduced in Britain, making it difficult to determine whether the vaccine works or not, Shattock said he and his colleagues are also looking to test their vaccine elsewhere.

Also read: UK coronavirus vaccine elicits immune response in early test

“We are looking very carefully at the pandemic, the numbers where the critical points are and talking to the collaborators who have the facilities to do this type of study,” he said.

The Imperial vaccine uses synthetic strands of genetic code based on the virus. Once injected into a muscle, the body’s own cells are instructed to make copies of a top protein in the coronavirus. That in turn should trigger an immune response so that the body can fight any future COVID-19 infection.

Clock | Oxford’s COVID-19 vaccine shows positive results

Earlier this week, the world’s largest coronavirus vaccine study began in the United States, with the first of 30,000 planned volunteers getting vaccinated with vaccines created by the US National Institutes of Health and Moderna Inc.

Several other vaccines made by China and by Britain’s Oxford University, based on different vaccine technologies, started smaller tests at the final stage in Brazil and other affected countries earlier this month.

The World Health Organization has said that multiple vaccine approaches are needed for COVID-19, noting that the typical success rate for vaccine development is about 10 percent.

Also Read: First US-Tested COVID-19 Vaccine Shows Promising Results

Shattock said there were numerous coronavirus vaccines now in clinical trials, and predicted that at least some of them would prove to be effective.

“We have 20 vaccines in clinical trials, (so) we can be pretty sure that at least two of them will work,” he said. “It really depends on how strong the immune response must be to provide protection.”

Shattock said he was optimistic that the Imperial vaccine would work, but he must wait for the scientific data from the trial.

“I’m just going to hold my breath and wait to see,” he said.

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