BRITISH volunteers are set to test out “green” coronavirus vaccines made from plants.
The vaccine programme in the UK is going ahead at full speed with people aged 34 and 35 being asked to come forward for their jab this week.
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Millions of jabs are already been rolled out across the UK and scientists are testing one made of plantsCredit: LNP
New jabs from a Canadian firm which use plants to create virus-like particles are currently being developed with the hope that it will be added to the three vaccines already being rolled out in the UK.
There are three jabs currently being rolled out, the Oxford/AstraZeneca, the Moderna and the Pfizer/BioNTech.
So far over 36.9 million Brits have had a first dose of a vaccine with 20.8 million now having had a second.
The so-called “green” vaccine could help bolster the rollout if it passes its trials.
The University of York and York Hospital are currently managing recruitment for phase three trials of jab made by a Canadian company Medicago.
Enrolment is ongoing and expected to conclude in late Spring, with 30,000 people across the globe taking.
Medicago, is working with GlaxoSmithKline and interim Phase 2 results for the new vaccine candidate show similar antibody response in adults and in the elderly after two doses.
In addition neutralising antibody responses were ten times higher than in people recovering from Covid-19. So far there have been no severe adverse events reported.
Within their vast greenhouses, Medicago uses plants as mini bioreactors to produce virus-like particles, the vaccine candidate’s active ingredient.
The firm is using a virus-like particle (VLP) grown in Nicotiana Benthamiana, which is a close relative of the tobacco plant.
Nathalie Landry, executive vice president, scientific and medical affairs at Medicago, said: “We are very excited to see such positive results from the Phase 2 data.
“After two doses, the adjuvanted vaccine candidate induced robust neutralising antibody and cellular immune responses in all subjects, irrespective of age.
How many vaccines does the UK have access to?
Here’s a break down of the vaccines the UK has ordered, how many and what type of jabs there are
BioNTech and Pfizer: 40 million – enough for 20 million people – mRNA
Oxford and AstraZeneca: 100 million – enough for 50 million people – adenovirus
Moderna: 17 million – enough for 8.5 million people – mRNA
Novavax: 60 million doses – protein adjuvant
Janssen: 30 million does – adenovirus
Valneva: 100 million – inactivated whole virus
GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and Sanofi Pasteur: 60 million doses – protein adjuvant
The different vaccine types:
- Adenoviral vaccines: These are based on weakened versions of adenoviruses, which are a group of viruses that typically infect membranes of the eyes, respiratory tract, urinary tract, intestines and nervous system, and include the common cold
- mRNA vaccines: Traditional vaccines are made up of small or inactivated doses of the whole disease-causing organism, or the proteins that it produces, which are introduced into the body to provoke the immune system into mounting a response. But mRNA vaccines trick the body into producing some of the viral proteins itself
- Inactivated whole virus vaccines: Inactivated vaccines contain whole bacteria or viruses which have been killed, or small parts of bacteria or viruses, such as proteins or sugars, which cannot cause disease
- Protein adjuvant vaccines: An adjuvant is added to some vaccines to enhance the immune response, and has been shown to create a stronger and longer lasting immunity against infections than the vaccine alone.
“These results give us confidence as we continue to move forward with our Phase 3 clinical trial.
“We hope to add another tool in the global fight against Covid-19, particularly as cross-protection emerges as an important consideration in vaccination efforts worldwide.”
Thomas Breuer, chief medical officer, GSK Vaccines said, “We are delighted to see that the results suggest a very strong immune response.
“We now look forward to the outcome of the ongoing Phase 3 trial of this refrigerator-stable vaccine candidate as the next step forward in our contribution to the global response to the pandemic.”