UK scientists to start testing another coronavirus vaccine on humans

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UK scientists will start testing another potential coronavirus vaccine on humans this week.

Imperial College London’s clinical trials will start with 300 people, to see whether their jab produces an effective immune response against Covid-19.

The healthy participants, aged between 18 and 70, will all receive two doses of the vaccine over the coming weeks, and the hopes are that tests could then move on to 6,000 volunteers if they are successful.

Rather than giving people a weakened form of the illness, the Imperial vaccine instead uses synthetic strands of genetic code based on the virus’ genetic material.

The research has been funded by £41m from the UK Government, as well as £5m of other donations, and comes after a separate vaccine from experts at Oxford University started undergoing human clinical trials

The work has been praised by Business Secretary Alok Sharma, who said: “The fast progress of Imperial’s vaccine is testament to the ingenuity and tenacity of Britain’s researchers.

“If these trials are successful a vaccine will not only help us tackle coronavirus but also emerging diseases now and into the future.”

Last week, British pharma firm AstraZenic signed a contract to provide European governments with 400 million doses of the vaccine under development by Oxford University.

The vaccine is still in clinical trials. If the trial results convince regulators the vaccine is safe and effective, deliveries would be expected to start by the end of 2020.

The British Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has approved the start of Phase III trials of the vaccine after studies showed sufficient efficacy and safety.

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