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Valneva's "Dead Vaccine": Study Brings First Positive Results

Valneva’s “Dead Vaccine”: Study Brings First Positive Results

On average, the vaccine candidate produced more neutralizing antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 than was the case with the comparison vaccine from AstraZeneca. VLA2001 also presented itself as “generally well tolerated,” according to the broadcast.

The classic approach with inactivated viruses

With its Covid-19 vaccine, Valneva is taking a classic approach with inactivated viruses. This approach has been tried and tested for several decades. The completely killed virus is presented to the body. Thus, the immune system must deal with all parts of the pathogen. According to Valneva, it is the only vaccine candidate in Europe that contains a coronavirus that is no longer able to reproduce.

When this vaccine can be approved in the European Union is still fully open, it is realistic during 2022. Because screening by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) has not yet begun.

4,012 adults and 660 adolescents participated in the Phase III study. The Valneva vaccine was given in two doses four weeks apart. A comparison has been made with the active ingredient of AstraZeneca (AZD1222) in adults over 30 years of age. Accordingly, neutralizing antibody titer was higher on average than that of participants who received AZD1222.

The results are ‘wonderful and encouraging’

Immune cell responses (T cells) were directed against different parts of the virus. The reaction to the pathogen elevation protein was stronger. In the study, the company said, less than one percent of participants reported an “adverse event of particular importance.” There was no serious case of COVID-19, regardless of which vaccine the study participants received.

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This indicates that both vaccines prevent serious disease against currently circulating virus variants – particularly the delta variant. “The low reactivity and robust response to functional antibodies as well as broad T-cell responses” is “very impressive and encouraging”, study leader Adam Finn, from the University of Bristol (Great Britain) considers.

Alternative Vaccine Solution

For Valneva President Thomas Lingelbach, the findings confirm “the benefits often associated with inactivated whole virus vaccines.” They will continue to work to get a vaccine candidate approved as soon as possible. However, the company announced in September that Great Britain had terminated the contract to supply VLA2001. However, Lingelbach said they “continue to believe that we can make an important contribution to the global fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.” They want to offer people who have not yet been vaccinated an “alternative vaccine solution.”

The active ingredient is in the so-called Renewable Approval Process (“Renewable Review”) at the MHRA (the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency). It is also preparing a similar submission to the European Medicines Agency (EMA), according to the company.