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BSI response to new COVID-19 vaccine clinical trial from Imperial College London

15 June 2020

Today, Imperial College London has announced their COVID-19 vaccine programme will move into human clinical trials this week. 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 response to this development, the British Society for Immunology released the following statement welcoming the announcement.

Dr Doug Brown, Chief Executive of the British Society for Immunology, said:

“It’s wonderful to see this COVID-19 vaccine candidate, developed by the team at Imperial College London, enter clinical trials. The UK leads the world for the quality of our immunology research and this is another great example of our researchers using their expertise to drive forward scientific discovery into this pandemic.

“Developing new vaccines is a highly complicated process and success is by no means assured. To maximise our chances of developing a safe and effective vaccine against SARS-CoV-2 quickly, we need to be trying many different approaches. This vaccine candidate from Imperial College London differs from other ongoing trials in that it uses novel RNA technology with the aim of generating an immune response in the recipient, leading to long-term immunity against COVID-19. Like other SARS-CoV-2 vaccine candidates, this vaccine will now need to go through many stages of testing to ensure that it is both safe and effective for widescale use.

“Understanding the exact immune response of the human body to SARS-CoV-2 is going to be key to developing a successful vaccine.  Our researchers have put in a monumental effort so far to move the science forward at such a fast rate. In the quest to find both vaccines and therapeutics against this novel coronavirus, we need to make sure that we continue to support our research community to maximise our knowledge of this disease."

If you would like to read more about the work of the team at Imperial on a COVID-19 vaccine, read our new report 'Protecting the world: 200 years of vaccine research', which looks at the UK's world leading record in this area and how our researchers are leading the front on developing a new vaccine against SARS-CoV-2.