UK-made Valneva Covid vaccine produces 'strong immune response', says Matt Hancock

ANOTHER Covid vaccine has shown huge promise in trials – and the UK has a deal for 100 million doses.

The Vaneva Covid jab produces a “strong immune response”, the Health Secretary Matt Hancock revealed today.

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More than 90 per cent of study participants developed “significant levels of antibodies” against the coronavirus.

The vaccine also induced T-cell responses, which help the body fend off a virus and play a role in long-lasting immunity.

The data comes from the early phase one and two trials of the vaccine, involving only 153 people aged between 18 and 55 years.

But showing to be effective and safe, the jab can now move into phase three trials, which will involve thousands of people.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson hailed the results of early-stage trials of the Valneva Covid-19 vaccine as “very promising”.

He tweeted: “Very promising news that the @ValnevaSE vaccine shows a strong immune response and will progress to Phase 3 trials. If it is successful and meets our robust safety standards this vaccine will be manufactured in Scotland, providing a crucial weapon in our battle against Covid.”

Mr Hancock said: “The UK Government has funded these clinical trials and it is fantastic to see Valneva’s vaccine produces a strong immune response.

“This vaccine will be made onshore in Livingston in Scotland, giving another boost to British life science, and if approved will play an important role in protecting our communities.

“I look forward to seeing the results of the upcoming phase three trial.”

Valneva’s vaccine is being made at the French biotech company's facility in Livingston, West Lothian, which has capacity to produce around 250 million vials a year.

The third phase of clinical trials will be the last before medicine regulators (the MHRA) decide if the jab is safe and effective to be given to Brits.

Valneva has previously says it hopes to bring data to the MHRA by the autumn of this year.

Therefore the first round of doses may not be delivered until 2022, while the Government has retained options for a further 90 million doses between 2023 and 2025.

The jab is given in two doses, the same as those from AstraZeneca, Pfizer and Moderna.

Different dosing levels were tested in the early stage trials, finding that 100 per cent of participants who received a high dose produced antibodies.

Clive Dix, chairman of the Vaccines Taskforce, said this was “encouraging”.

The company said it was “extremely pleased” with the results and believed the jab had an “important role to play” in the pandemic.

Thomas Lingelbach, Chief Executive Officer of Valneva, said the jab could potentially be modified to tackle new variants.

Vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi said: “These results are very promising and provide renewed hope that a vaccine using a whole inactivated virus might provide strong protection against variants.

“If the results from the phase three clinical trials are positive and the vaccine meets the robust standards of safety, quality and effectiveness of our medicines regulator, the MHRA (Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency), this will be another powerful weapon in our arsenal to beat this pandemic.”

More than 31.5 million Brits have been given their first dose of a Covid vaccine, while five million have had a second dose.

Although there will be a supply slump in April, it was revealed today the Moderna vaccine will start coming on stream within weeks.


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