THE FIRST needle-free coronavirus jab trial is set to start in the UK as scientists claim it could end all pandemics.
Experts at Cambridge University have developed a vaccine for Covid-19 that would be administered to people through the skin via a jet of air.
⚠️ Read our coronavirus live blog for the latest news & updates
Human trials are set to start in the autumn and the government will fund the first human trial to the tune of £1.9 million.
The vaccine is being developed by DIOSynVax, a company founded by Professor Jonathan Heeney, who is the head of viral zoonotics at Cambridge University, along with University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust.
He said the goal is to “make a coronavirus vaccine that will protect us not only from this pandemic, but the next one”.
The vaccine will use a device which is already used for some cancer treatments.
Experts say that pushing skin cells using air can induce finely tuned responses in comparison to other vaccines.
Most vaccines that are currently being developed work by exposing people to a “spike protein” which the virus uses to connect with human cells.
In order to develop the new vaccine the team at Cambridge analysed hundreds of coronaviruses – including those found in bats.
They then used their results to build a library of antigens which mimic the molecules on coronaviruses.
The experts say that the aim of this is to find shared antigens between different coronavirus, which could mean that one jab could protect against all of them.
Prof Heeney said: “We’re looking for crucial pieces of the virus that we can use to direct the immune response in the right direction.
"Ultimately we aim to make a vaccine that will not only protect from Sars-CoV-2, but other related coronaviruses that may spill over from animals to humans.”
He added that manufacturing of the vaccine should be cheap and said that it does not need to be refrigerated.
This means that the vaccine will also be accessible to people in hotter countries.
Prof Heeney said it’s unlikely that the new vaccine will trigger a bad immune response.
The first trials will take place at the National Institute for Health Research Southampton Clinical Research Facility at University Hospital Southampton.
Director of the facility, Professor Saul Faust said: “It is critical that different vaccine technologies are tested as at this stage no one can be sure which type of vaccine will produce the best and most long-lived immune responses.”
It comes just days after Chief Medical Officer Professor Chris Whitty said he would be "surprised" if a vaccine was available before 2021.
The daily increase in fatalities and cases across the UK has continued to slow this month however health authorities are on high alert for any spike in the deadly bug.
Prof Whitty today said he would be "delighted" if a vaccine came early.
But the CMO said: "I’d be quite surprised if we had a highly effective vaccine ready for mass use in a large percentage of the population before the end of winter, certainly before this side of Christmas.”
He added: "I think it is unlikely we will have a vaccine that is highly effective and ready to deploy at scale this winter meaning 2020/21.
"I think there is a reasonable chance that we will have vaccines, not a certainty, in the period before the following winter of 2021/22."
Source: Read Full Article