1st Volunteer Given Dose of UK’s Imperial College COVID Vaccine
As part of the initial stage of the trial, 15 healthy volunteers will receive a low dose of the vaccine.
A small dose of the candidate COVID-19 vaccine developed by Imperial College London researchers was delivered to the first healthy volunteer, the team said on Tuesday, 23 June.
The volunteer, who wishes to remain anonymous, is being closely monitored and is reported to be in good health with no safety concerns.
This is also the first time that a new self-amplifying RNA (saRNA) technology for vaccine development would be tested. The team adds that the vaccine candidate has undergone ‘rigorous’ preclinical safety tests and animal studies before it was administered to the participant.
Dr Katrina Pollock from Imperial’s Department of Infectious Disease and Chief Investigator of the study, was quoted in the Imperial College report as saying,
“We have reached a significant milestone in this groundbreaking study with the first dose of a self-amplifying RNA vaccine delivered safely. We are now poised to test the vaccine in the dose evaluation phase before moving forward to evaluating it in larger numbers”Dr Katrina Pollock
The volunteer will be given a second ‘booster’ dose within four weeks, and many others are expected to participate in the coming days. They will all be monitored after being given the vaccine to check for their safety and to see whether any antibodies are produced against the novel coronavirus.
As part of the initial stage of the trial, 15 healthy volunteers will receive a low dose of the vaccine, and higher doses will be given to subsequent participants in order to assess the ideal dosage. In all, 300 people are expected to receive two doses of the candidate vaccine.
If the vaccine turns out to be safe and reveals promising immune response within volunteers, then large-scale trials will be planned later this year.
Professor Robin Shattock, from the Department of Infectious Disease at Imperial and who is leading the work, said, "The first participant marks an important step for our saRNA vaccine platform, which has never before been trialled in humans.
"We now eagerly await rapid recruitment to the trial so that we can assess both the safety of the vaccine and its ability to produce neutralising antibodies which would indicate an effective response against COVID-19. I look forward to our progress in the coming months,” he added.
The vaccine is being developed and trialled with the support and funding from the UK government as well as philanthropic donations.
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