A tenth of the vaccine moves to human testing

Un dixième vaccin passe aux essais sur les humains

The race for the vaccine is not slowing down : in the United States, a laboratory becomes the tenth in the world to begin testing on humans to evaluate the efficacy and safety of a potential vaccine against the COVID-19.

The biotechnology company Novavax, based in Maryland, has started clinical trials of its candidate vaccine. It has been injected to the first volunteers Monday, in Australia, where will be conducted the tests.

In all, 130 healthy participants, aged 18 to 59 years of age, will participate in this phase 1 study in the cities of Melbourne and Brisbane.

Some will receive a placebo while others receive the real substance, the objective being to check if the vaccine causes an immune response in the body and, especially, if it is safe.

The firm hopes to unveil in July, if this first experiment is conclusive, which would allow him to quickly move to the phase 2 of clinical evaluation, during which hundreds of participants would be put at contribution.

Soon in production

Preclinical tests on animals have generated ” high levels of neutralizing antibodies, was pleased the company, which is even mentioned by the availability of its vaccine before the end of the year, if everything goes as planned.

However, we do know that animals do not always react the same way in the face of an infectious agent or a vaccine, hence the need to next conduct trials on humans.

This does not prevent Novavax to display a lot of optimism. The company wants to start producing its vaccine before the end of the tests to be ready to distribute in the event that it is approved by the authorities.

“We produce in parallel doses in the expectation that we will be able to show that it works and can start to deploy by the end of this year,” said Dr. Gregory Glenn, chief researcher of the company, in a virtual press conference, as reported by the Associated Press.

Based on a grant of $ 388 million $ a international foundation, Novavax claims to be able to manufacture 100 million doses of the vaccine before the end of 2020 and a billion doses by 2021, according to CNN.

Three phases

The development of a new vaccine consists of three phases of trials on humans and usually takes five to ten years, but in the urgency of finding a remedy against the novel coronavirus, experts believe that it would be possible to get there in only 12 to 18 months in the case of the COVID-19.

For us, in Québec, the companies IMV and Medicago, are also entered in the race and hope to begin testing their own vaccine on humans as early as this summer.

— With the collaboration of the QMI Agency

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