Monday 16 November 2020 9:29 am

Janssen begins stage three Covid vaccine trial in UK

Janssen has today begun stage three trials of its coronavirus vaccine, the third such company to do so in the UK. 

6,000 volunteers across the country will take part in the tests of the vaccine, which has been developed in partnership with US giant Johnson & Johnson.

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The trials come after Pfizer last week announced that its treatment had been proved 90 per cent effective against the new disease.

The announcement was lauded as a major breakthrough in the battle against the disease, prompting markets around the world to surge on the hope that normal life could return sooner than expected.

This morning health secretary Matt Hancock said that it was likely that the UK would begin rolling out the Pfizer vaccine before Christmas.

However, scientists have warned that it is likely that humanity will need multiple vaccines to ensure protection against the disease, with one unlikely to work for everyone.

US biotech company Novavax and the partnership between the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca also currently have trials ongoing.

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Janssen’s trial will see half the volunteers given two doses of the vaccine around two months apart.

The vaccine uses a genetically modified common cold virus which resembles coronavirus at a molecular level. This should train the immune system to recognise and fight coronavirus.

In total, 30,000 people will be enrolled in the trial around the world.

Business secretary Alok Sharma said: “The start of further clinical trials in the UK is yet another step forward in the race to discover a safe and effective vaccine, and comes alongside recent news that we could be on the cusp of the first major breakthrough since the pandemic began.

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“While we are optimistic with the progress being made, there are no guarantees and it is possible there will be no one-size-fits-all vaccine. 

“That is why it is absolutely vital that while our scientists are cracking on with the job, we continue to follow the guidance to control the virus, protect the NHS and save lives.”