Britain has signed up for 90m doses of potential Covid-19 vaccines from companies based in France and Germany. This is in addition to the previously secured 100m doses of the vaccine in development by Oxford University and AstraZeneca
30m doses are for a vaccine in development by Germany’s BioNTech. The vaccine works by using mRNA, snippets of genetic information that instruct cells to build proteins, to make human cells produce proteins from the Sars-Cov-2 virus. These proteins are not infectious or harmful on their own, but may still result in an immune response that leads to immunity.
The remaining 60m doses are for a vaccine from France’s Valneva, which uses the more traditional approach of introducing an inactivated form of the whole coronavirus.
The government also previously agreed to buy 100m doses of the Oxford University vaccine developed with AstraZeneca. The research group behind this vaccine released promising results today (Monday, 20th of July) showing that 90% of participants produced neutralising antibodies after 1 dose, with the remaining 10% requiring a second dose. Named ChAdOx1, this vaccine is a weakened form of a chimpanzee common cold virus (in this case, an adenovirus) modified to include the Sars-Cov-2 Spike protein – a protein used by the Sars-Cov-2 coronavirus to gain entry into human cells.
Britain now has a stake in three different leading Covid vaccines, however we must still be prepared for the possibility of disappointment. Clinical trials must fully run their course to confirm the effectiveness and safety of these vaccines. Even if the vaccines do work, they might only grant partial immunity, reducing the symptoms of the virus without preventing it entirely.
Britain signs up for 90m doses of German and French vaccines: https://www.ft.com/content/8a74a6a8-923b-47ee-9ff3-29b46e0e532b