UK funded Imperial College coronavirus vaccine moves into first human trials
Beginning this week, the study will be the first time the vaccine has been trialled in humans and will test whether it is well-tolerated and produces an effective immune response against coronavirus.
This latest milestone follows £41 million in government funding towards the development of Imperial College London’s vaccine. A further £5 million of philanthropic gifts, including from hundreds of members of the public, has accelerated the work. The trials will be the first test of a new self-amplifying RNA technology, which has the potential to revolutionise vaccine development and enable scientists to respond more quickly to emerging diseases.
The vaccine has undergone rigorous pre-clinical safety tests and has been shown to be safe and produced encouraging signs of an effective immune response in animal studies. Over the coming weeks, 300 healthy participants will receive two doses of the vaccine.
Many traditional vaccines are based on a weakened or modified form of virus, or parts of it, but the Imperial vaccine is based on a new approach. It uses synthetic strands of genetic code (called RNA), based on the virus’s genetic material. ■