Across the country, 6,000 volunteers are participating in phase three trials of the COVID-19[feminine[feminine vaccine at 17 National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) sites, including Southampton, Bristol, Cardiff, London, Leicester, Sheffield, Manchester, Dundee and Belfast.
This is the third potential coronavirus vaccine to enter clinical trials in UK, alongside US biotech company Novavax and University of Oxford / AstraZeneca whose studies are currently underway.
The trial begins a week after the breakthrough announced by Pfizer and BioNtech that the first results show that their vaccine is more than 90% effective.
Professor Saul Faust, director of the NIHR Southampton Clinical Research Facility and lead investigator of the Janssen Phase Three trial, told Sky News: “The Janssen vaccine is very similar to the Oxford / Astra Zeneca vaccine in that it this is a suitable cold virus that may not replicate in the body and cannot give us a cold and cannot give us coronavirus, but it shows the body’s immune system the spike protein for allow us to respond immune.
“Pfizer’s announcement last week was really exciting because we only knew last week that a vaccine would be able to stop the coronavirus at all.
“All of the companies make advanced protein vaccines, so we really hope that the vaccines will all work to a greater or lesser extent and it’s really important that we have a number of different vaccines from a number of different types. ‘different companies because we have no idea if a vaccine will work in all age groups or in all populations and we don’t really know if the vaccine supply will be able to come from one company at all times and supply the world whole. ”
Business Secretary Alok Sharma said: “The start of new clinical trials in the UK is another step forward in the race to find a safe and effective vaccine, and comes alongside recent news that we may be on the cusp of the first major breakthrough since the pandemic began.
“While we are optimistic about the progress being made, there is no guarantee and there may not be a universal vaccine. This is why it is absolutely essential that, while our scientists get to work, we continue to follow the guidelines to control the virus, protect the NHS and save lives. ”
At the same time, the Labor leader called on the Prime Minister to release a comprehensive national action plan for the deployment of a future coronavirus vaccine “which harnesses all the talents of the British people”.
In a letter to Boris Johnson, Sir Keir Starmer wrote: “The challenge the country faces now is not just how to control the virus, but how we prepare for the vaccine.
“We are world leaders in the field of vaccines and I think we should aim for a world class program for its deployment. However, it will be a gigantic logistics operation, possibly bigger than what we have seen since WWII. If we are to do it right then we need to have a clear plan in place now. ”
Professor Martin McKee of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine is a fellow of the Independent SAGE and among scientists warn that rolling out a vaccine may not be the silver bullet people are hoping for.
“We have to recognize that they will not solve the problem on their own.
“We have to have them as part of an integrated strategy that includes a very good system of testing, traceability and isolation for a while yet, we’re going to have to maintain a lot of the social distancing measures that we have until then.” that everyone is vaccinated. , until we really get this under control.
“So that’s an important part, but we shouldn’t put all of our eggs in one basket.
“We also have to recognize that there will also be some hesitation around vaccines. ”
More than 300,000 people have signed up for the NHS vaccine registry to participate in the coronavirus vaccine studies.
The NHS vaccine registry is in particular need of volunteers most vulnerable to the effects of the coronavirus, including frontline health and social workers and people from black, Asian and ethnic minorities.
Dr Vanessa Apea, Black, Asian and Minority Clinical Champion at NIHR Clinical Research Network North Thames, said: “COVID-19 continues to pose a significant threat to our health and our communities and many of us are still vulnerable to it. one way to reduce the threat and impact of this disease is a vaccine.