French firm to start clinical trials of Covid vaccine candidate at four sites in England An illustration picture shows vials with Covid-19 Vaccine stickers attached and syringes with the logo of French-Austrian vaccine firm Valneva on November 17, 2020. (Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP via Getty Images)
FRENCH pharmaceutical firm Valneva will start the first clinical trials of its Covid-19 vaccine candidate at four sites in England, Britain’s business ministry said on Wednesday(16).
The Phase I and Phase II trials involve 150 volunteers in Bristol, Birmingham, Southampton and Newcastle, and will be designed to show whether the vaccine is safe and produces an immune response.
If these are successful, larger trials are planned for April 2021 to determine efficacy. There are four other vaccine candidates undergoing clinical trials in the UK.
Britain has ordered 60 million doses of Valneva’s vaccine candidate, to be delivered in 2021, with an option to acquire 130 million more in subsequent years. It is being made at a manufacturing plant in Livingston, Scotland.
Valneva is developing an inactivated, whole virus vaccine, a more traditional approach to making shots than the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine which has already been approved in Britain.
Like the Pfizer vaccine and other leading candidates, Valneva’s shot is expected to need a two dose regimen.
“As we take the monumental steps in rolling out the first Covid-19 vaccine, we must remember that we need to have a range of vaccines available to protect the British public now and long into the future,” business minister Alok Sharma said.
In all, the government has supply deals for seven different types of vaccine, securing access to 357 million doses.