First volunteer receives new Imperial COVID-19 vaccine
26 Jun 2020
The first healthy volunteer has received a new coronavirus vaccine developed by researchers led by Professor Robin Shattock at Imperial College London. The phase I trials were funded by UKRI as part of the UKRI/DHSC/NIHR COVID-19 rapid research response.
The study will be the first time the vaccine has been trialled in humans and will test whether it is well-tolerated and produces an effective immune response against COVID-19.
It will be the first test of a new self-amplifying RNA technology, which has the potential to revolutionise vaccine development and enable scientists to respond more quickly to emerging diseases.
The vaccine has undergone rigorous pre-clinical safety tests and in animal studies it has been shown to be safe and produced encouraging signs of an effective immune response.
Over the coming weeks, 300 healthy participants will receive two doses of the vaccine.
The vaccine candidate is being developed and trialled thanks to more than £41 million in funding from the UK governmentand a further £5m in philanthropic donations.
If the vaccine is safe and shows a promising immune response in humans, then larger Phase III trials would be planned to begin later in the year with around 6000 healthy volunteers to test its effectiveness.
Ultimately, the researchers hope that if clinical trials are successful, the vaccine could provide protection against COVID-19 both in the UK and around the world.
Professor Robin Shattock, from the Department of Infectious Disease at Imperial and who is leading the work, said: “The COVID-19 pandemic has claimed thousands of lives and had a huge impact on daily life. In the long-term, a viable vaccine could be vital for protecting the most vulnerable, enabling restrictions to be eased and helping people to get back to normal life.