Clinical researchers are this week set to begin human trials of a new coronavirus vaccine developed by researchers at Imperial College London.

The study will be the first time the vaccine has been trialled in humans and will test whether it is well-tolerated and produces an effective immune response against COVID-19.

In the long-term, a viable vaccine could be vital for protecting the most vulnerable, enabling restrictions to be eased and helping people to get back to normal life.Professor Robin ShattockPrincipal Investigator, COVID-19 vaccine trial

Imperial’s vaccine candidate is being developed and trialled thanks to more than £41 million in funding from the UK government and a further £5m in philanthropic donations. It will be the first test of a new self-amplifying RNA technology, which has the potential to revolutionise vaccine development and enable scientists to respond more quickly to emerging diseases.

The vaccine has undergone rigorous pre-clinical safety tests and in animal studies it has been shown to be safe and produced encouraging signs of an effective immune response.

Over the coming weeks, 300 healthy participants will receive two doses of the vaccine.

If the vaccine is safe and shows a promising immune response in humans, then larger Phase III trials would be planned to begin later in the year with around 6000 healthy volunteers to test its effectiveness.

Image Credit:  Imperial College London

Thanks to Heinz V. Hoenen.  Follow him on twitter: @HeinzVHoenen

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