More coronavirus vaccine trials in Wales “within weeks”

A top scientist who works for the body responsible for organising the pilots has said different vaccines will be trialed across parts of Wales “very soon”.

About five hundred volunteers in the Gwent area have already taken part in trials of the Covid-19 vaccine being developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University.

The BBC reports the new trials will be for different vaccines, but Health and Care Research Wales would not confirm which products.

Dr Angharad Davies, Health and Care Research Wales’ lead for infection, said “We’re working with vaccines developed by others and they are searching for locations to trial their vaccinations.

“Although we’re not developing the vaccines ourselves, it is a lot of work.

“We’re looking at starting the trials very soon – within the next month or two. They will be held across Wales.

“Some will be in the Aneurin Bevan Health Board area in Gwent, some will be in Cardiff and there will be others in north Wales – they will probably be with a different vaccination.”

Vaccines are designed to train the immune system in a highly targeted way that leaves lasting protection against one particular infection.

Immunisation is often seen as the holy grail that will end the Covid-19 pandemic, but a report from researchers brought together by the Royal Society said people needed to be “realistic” about what a vaccine could achieve and when.

About two hundred different vaccines are being developed across the world, with some countries already using vaccinations developed by their own scientists. However, some scientists fear these vaccines may not have been tested rigorously enough.

Angharad Davies understands ten vaccinations have now reached a stage in the development process where researchers feel it “seems safe to administer and creates a response from the immune system”.

She said “It then needs to be tested to see whether it can prevent infection – and whether it is safe on a large scale, looking at potential rarer side-effects.”

Health boards across Wales are preparing a mass immunisation programme for when or if a vaccine becomes available.

But one of Wales’ top drug professors has warned “history is against us” when finding a cure against “this family of viruses”.

Arwyn Tomos Jones, Professor of Membrane Traffic and Drug Delivery at Cardiff University, said “It could be a very long time until a vaccine is found which is both safe and effective, and there is no certainty one will appear.

“If everything worked perfectly, there would be hope of a vaccine in around a year I’d say.”

The Welsh Government have confirmed they are working with Public Health Wales and the UK Government on plans to distribute the vaccine when one becomes available.

Those facing the highest risk will likely be immunised first, with priority being decided at a UK level by an expert committee.

Free WordPress Themes, Free Android Games