Vaccine: Commentator says UK must not ‘give away’ supply
Valneva, a French biotechnology company with a base in Scotland, started manufacturing its vaccine candidate today. The company will synthesise jabs from its base in Livingston, West Lothian. The Government has an in-principle agreement for 60 million initial doses, followed by an option for a further 130 million if approved.
How effective is the Valneva vaccine?
Valneva’s vaccine candidate isn’t at quite the same stage as some of its rivals, now in phase one and two trials.
Researchers use early-stage clinical trials to evaluate a vaccine candidate, and as such, they do not yield complete results on efficacy or safety.
Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca concluded efficacy after their jabs had passed phase three of their respective trials.
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Scientists can take months between phase two and phase three before they deliver results.
Moderna and Pfizer entered phase three in summer 2020, before releasing primary efficacy analysis in November.
If they follow a similar schedule, Valneva could post its phase three results by summer, although this is just speculation as the company has not confirmed when people can expect the news.
The jab must pass “safety and effectiveness standards” before approval in the UK.
Thomas Lingelbach, Chief Executive Officer of Valneva, praised his team in Scotland as manufacturing began.
He added the vaccine could “make a major contribution in the UK and beyond”.
Mr Lingelbach said: “We are extremely pleased to have achieved these two important milestones in such a short period of time.
“Our team in Scotland have done an amazing job to get manufacturing started so quickly.”
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“I would like to thank the UK Vaccines Taskforce and National Institute for Health Research who have played vital roles in the rapid recruitment and enrolment of the volunteers for the clinical study.
“We believe that our vaccine, assuming successful development, can make a major contribution in the UK and beyond.”
Valneva’s candidate VLA2001 is one of the only inactivated vaccines in development.
Unlike the US versions which train mRNA to fight Covid-19, inactivated vaccines inject dead virus cells into the body.
The immune system then responds to the dead virus, which strengthens it ahead of any real infections.
Scientists have used the tried and tested method for many successful vaccines in the past, but the World Health Organisation (WHO) said it could require several dosages to work at its best.
They said: “This approach uses technology that’s been proven to work in people – this is the way the flu and polio vaccines are made – and vaccines can be manufactured on a reasonable scale.
“However, it requires special laboratory facilities to grow the virus or bacterium safely, can have a relatively long production time, and will likely require two or three doses to be administered.”
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