A LEADING researcher into a coronavirus vaccine has issued a stunning warning about the danger of rushing out a treatment for the pandemic virus this year.
Professor Robin Shattock has told the BBC that rolling out a vaccine early could present issues, including fears of re-infection. Speaking to Andrew Marr, the leading professor at Imperial College London said that his team were about to begin its first human clinical trials for a vaccine. However, he pointed out that attempts from labs and big drug companies to rush out a treatment could even be “dangerous”.
He said that there was no way of knowing how long any vaccine would be able to protect someone, given limited knowledge around immunity from coronavirus.
Professor Shattock warned it could be “dangerous” to give doses of a new vaccine when the question of immunity remained.
When Marr asked how long the vaccines will last, the research responded: “That is a great question, we don’t know.”
Professor Shattock told the BBC: “One of the issues is that if you rush into delivering a vaccine after studying for a few months, you will only know it is protective for a few months.”
He continued: “By the time you get to a year, you know if it is protective for a year.
“With our vaccine, we can provide a boost response, so we can provide an annual booster if necessary.”
In previous interviews, he has warned that rolling out a coronavirus vaccine too quickly could be dangerous because scientists won’t know if it offers any long-term protection.
Imperial College London’s trials on humans are scheduled to begin with 300 people on June 15.
He went on to tell Marr: “Predicting success is a foolish game, each individual vaccine has a high risk of failure.
“By having multiple vaccine trials around the world we are pretty certain we will get several that will work.
“We can make huge amounts of the vaccines because we use very small doses.”
Professor Shattock told the BBC that the technology used in Imperial labs meant that “we can use it for the next pandemic as well – this is the approach of the future”.
His team will conduct a huge 6,000-participant phase test in October to check the vaccine’s effectiveness.
There are currently ten vaccines against COVID-19 in trials around the world and 100 others in preclinical development.
Professor Shattock insisted there was “no competition” between the different labs to be the first to produce a vaccine.