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UK secures early access to 90 million doses of two more COVID-19 vaccine candidates

Written by on 13/08/2020

The UK has secured early access to 90 million doses of two promising vaccine candidates.

Support and infrastructure will be given to Novavax during its Phase 3 clinical trial in the UK, with plans to manufacture the vaccine in the country and gain access to 60 million doses.

The UK will also co-fund a global clinical trial with the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson which will account for the other 30 million doses.

If the vaccines are proven to be safe and effective they could be delivered to the UK in the middle of next year.

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Priority would be given to groups such as health and social care workers and those with conditions that put them at higher risk from the coronavirus.

With the two new deals, the UK has secured access to six vaccine candidates.

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The Novavax vaccine candidate will be tested with help from the National Institute for Health Research and some of it will be manufactured at Fujifilm Diosynth Biotechnologies’s facilities in Billingham, Stockton-on-Tees.

Meanwhile, the next stage of the Janssen vaccine candidate’s trials is expected to start later this year and will look at whether two doses provide long-term protection against the coronavirus.

The UK government said it welcomed the news that Janssen’s vaccine would be available worldwide on a not-for-profit basis during the pandemic.

Kate Bingham, chair of the government’s vaccines task force, said: “The sooner we start the two-dose study of the Janssen vaccine the sooner we will know whether the vaccine can provide durable, long term protection against COVID-19 infection.

“The vaccine is based on technology used in its recently approved preventative Ebola vaccine designed to induce long-term immunity in individuals over one years old.

“It is also encouraging that Novavax’s recent clinical data shows their vaccine triggers an immune response greater than that in patients who have recovered from the disease.”

Paul Stoffels, vice chairman of the executive committee and chief scientific officer at Johnson & Johnson, said: “Ending the current COVID-19 pandemic will take a global effort, and this agreement is an important example of how we can begin to address this significant challenge through collaborative research.”

Stanley C Erck, president and chief executive officer of Novavax, said: “Our Phase 3 clinical trial in the UK will be a critical component to assess the efficacy of our COVID-19 vaccine, which in a Phase 1 trial has already demonstrated that it is generally well-tolerated and elicits robust antibody responses greater than those seen in patients who have recovered from COVID-19 disease.”

It comes almost a month after the UK announced early access agreements with Valneva, BioNTech and Pfizer for vaccine candidates they are developing.

 Sky News

© Sky News 2020

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