By Tony Winterburn • 14 March 2020 • 8:08
The researchers said they have successfully tested the vaccine in mice and the results were extremely promising allowing them to move quickly to human testing as early as June.
Senior researcher Dr. Paul McKay of Imperial College London said: “I’ve got results from a month after I injected (the mice) and the vaccine works really, really well.”
Dr. Robin Shattock, head of the Mucosal Infection and Immunity team said they are currently working with scientists in Paris to determine the vaccine’s effectiveness in monkeys. Dr. McKay said they have applied for further funding from the Medical Research Council in order to conduct human clinical trials.
“If we get the funding for the human clinical trials, we will put it into people by June,” he said.
“If British scientists here develop a vaccine it would be great if the Government supported it.”
Meanwhile over in the US using a different approach, researchers have fast-tracked coronavirus vaccine development by skipping key animal testing first.
A clinical trial for an experimental coronavirus vaccine has begun recruiting participants in Seattle, but researchers did not first show that the vaccine triggered an immune response in animals, as is normally required.
The Technical Stuff
The new vaccine, developed by the biotechnology company Moderna Therapeutics, does not contain the virus that triggers COVID-19, as a conventional vaccine might. Instead, Moderna researchers used a new technique to make messenger RNA (mRNA), which is similar to mRNA found in SARS-CoV-2.
In theory, the artificial mRNA will act as instructions that prompt human cells to build a protein found on the surface of the virus. That protein would theoretically trigger a protective immune response. Standard vaccines work similarly but use a dead or weak virus as their base, forgoing the process of constructing viral proteins from scratch.
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