Edinburgh, September 19: In the race to find a silver bullet against the novel coronavirus, Scotland has entered into the fray. The country, a part of the United Kingdom, has inked a £1.4 billion contract with Valneva SE - a leading biotechnology company headquartered in France. As per the pact, Valneva would be developing a vaccine candidate in Edinburgh. COVID-19 Vaccine Update: Phase-III Trial of Oxford Vaccine to Begin in Pune Next Week.
Unlike the UK's leading vaccine candidate of Oxford-AstraZeneca - which has used a mashup of genetic material to produce a vaccine against COVID-19 - the Valneva candidate is based on the "old school" module. The developers would be using a dead strain of Sars-COV 2 virus.
The use of a dead virus to form a vaccine against the same is considered as the classic form of vaccine development. Though time consuming, this form of vaccine is expected to provide immunity to all vulnerable groups, including the elderly, while also minimising the chance of adverse side-effects.
"We have been very well aware of [inactivated vaccines] for almost 100 years…the technology is well established and has a high probability of success," Thomas Lingelbach, chief executive of Valneva, told Telegraph UK.
The vaccine development would begin a plant in Livingstone near Edinburgh. The clinical studies would also be conducted in labs based in Nantes, France and Austrian capital Vienna.
The entry of Scotland into the vaccine race comes at a time when the world is eagerly awaiting the release of safe dose to build long-lasting immunity against the lethal coronavirus. While Russia has released Sputnik V, the vaccine has failed to elicit a positive response from the West as the clinical study data was not released in public domain by Moscow.
(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Sep 19, 2020 10:35 PM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website latestly.com).