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Valneva set to begin commercial manufacturing of COVID-19 vaccine within days

Vaccine could be in use in Britain by September

Valneva is set to begin manufacturing doses of its COVID-19 vaccine for commercial use at its site in Livingston, Scotland, according to The Mail on Sunday.

The French-headquartered company’s chief executive officer Thomas Lingelbach also said that the COVID-19 vaccine, known as VLA2001, could be made available in Britain between July and September.

“We are days away from starting the commercial manufacturing. We cannot release it without regulatory approval so we're in a little bit of a Catch-22 situation and there are certainly scenarios that we are currently discussing with the regulators,” said Lingelbach.

“But we have already signed up to give priority to the UK and this is something we're currently working on,” he added.

In December 2020, Valneva announced that it had launched phase 1/2 trials of its potential COVID-19 vaccine across four National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) testing sites in the UK.

Valneva’s vaccine candidate is made of inactivated whole virus particles of SARS-CoV-2, which causes COVID-19, with high S-protein density. This is combined with two adjuvants – alum and CpG 1018 – to boost antibody levels.

VLA2001 uses the same manufacturing platform used by Valneva to create its licensed Japanese encephalitis vaccine, Ixiaro.

Following initial planned analysis of the phase 1/2 trial data, Valneva is planning to select an optimal dose of VLA2001 and initiate additional trials in the second quarter of 2021.

The UK government previously pre-ordered 60 million doses of Valneva’s vaccine candidate, with these doses initially planned to be delivered by the end of 2021.

In August 2020, the government also announced a multimillion-pound joint investment in the manufacturing facility in Livingston to support manufacturing capacity for Valneva’s COVID-19 vaccine.

Following the upfront investment, the expanded Livingston facility could potentially supply up to 100 million doses of VLA2001 to the UK and internationally, according to the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy.

The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has announced that a total of 4.06 million people have received the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, as of 17 January 2021.

That figure includes more than half of those aged 80 and over and more than half of elderly residents living in care homes.

The UK has so far approved three COVID-19 vaccines: Pfizer/BioNTech’s mRNA-based vaccine, AstraZeneca(AZ)/Oxford University’s vaccine and most recently Moderna’s vaccine.

While people in the UK have already been receiving the Pfizer/BioNTech and AZ/Oxford vaccines, supplies of Moderna’s vaccine are not expected to be delivered until Spring.

The UK government is aiming to vaccinate approximately 15 million people by mid-February, with priority to be given to the priority groups identified by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI).

Article by
Lucy Parsons

19th January 2021

From: Healthcare

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