The UK government has pre-ordered 60 million doses of candidate Valneva, which is under development at the French biotech company’s facilities in Livingston, west Lothian.
It is being tested on 150 volunteers at four National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) test sites in Birmingham, Bristol, Newcastle and Southampton.
Business Secretary Alok Sharma said he had visited Valneva’s “state-of-the-art facility” over the summer, adding that he had seen “first-hand the incredible work our scientists and researchers are doing” to develop the new vaccine.
It comes as the UK rolls out its large-scale Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine vaccination program after becoming the first country in the world to approve it December 2.
Mr Sharma said: “As we move through the monumental milestones of the deployment of the first COVID-19[feminine[feminine vaccine, we must remember that we must have a range of vaccines to protect the British public now and long into the future.
“Today we have welcome news that life-saving clinical trials will begin across the country to test the safety and efficacy of the Valneva vaccine, which is under clinical development here in the UK.
The first trials will show whether the vaccine produces a safe and effective immune response against COVID-19.
If successful, further testing will be scheduled for April 2021, with more than 4,000 UK volunteers taking two doses, and the candidate could become available by the end of next year.
Valneva will potentially have the capacity to deliver up to 250 million doses of vaccine in the UK and globally.
Company CEO Thomas Lingelbach said: “Our teams have worked very hard to develop our differentiated vaccine candidate and I would like to thank them and the UK government for their dedication and support.
“While conducting our first clinical trials, we are already increasing our manufacturing capabilities and starting full-scale production so that we can make the vaccine widely available around the world assuming the vaccine is safe and effective.
Last week, Margaret Keenan, a grandmother of four, was the first person in UK to receive Pfizer vaccine Outside of one trial, people aged 80 and over and home care workers were also among the first to receive the hit.
Vaccination centers managed by local doctors in more than 100 locations across England, the Pfizer jab was delivered to them on Monday in the final phase of deployment, but some scientists warn it could take at least a year to inoculate the entire British population.