Covid-19 Vaccine trials commence in the UK

[Photo: The Telegraph]

Nov, 16th 2020 – The UK has launched a third major covid-19 vaccine trial. This follows the success of the vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech which has caused major excitement across the globe but is yet to be approved for use as it is unknown how effectively it works. The new jab is designed by a Belgian company, Janssen and uses a genetically modified common cold virus to train the immune system.

The vaccine comes a week after results showed that another vaccine offered 90 percent protection. However, the hunt for a Covid vaccine continues as different approaches may be better as many vaccines are likely needed to end the pandemic to suit all age groups.

Prof Saul Faust, director of the National Institute for Health Research Southampton Clinical Research Facility and who will run the trial said, “It is really important we pursue many different vaccines from many different manufactures. We just don’t know how each of these vaccines is going to behave and we can’t be certain vaccine supply will be efficient and secure from one manufacturer.

For the trial, recruitment of 6000 people has already started in the UK as other countries will join later to bring the total to 30,000. Half of these volunteers will be given two dozes of the vaccine two months apart. The trial aims at seeing if two will give a stronger and long lasting immunity. the results could take six to nine months before they are available.

Janseen has one large scale trial of its vaccine where volunteers get one dose. The vaccine uses a common cold virus that has been genetically modified to make it harmless and look more like the coronavirus at a molecular level. This aims at training the immune system to recognize and fight coronavirus.

the approach is similar to a vaccine designed by the Oxford University and AstraZeneca which is likely to be trialed in UK. The difference is that Janseen vaccine uses a virus that infects people while Oxford has used a virus that infects chimpanzees. however, all these approaches are new and experimental.

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