Covid: Manufacturing of Valneva vaccine candidate begins in Scotland

Coronavirus vaccine Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

Manufacturing of a possible coronavirus vaccine candidate has begun in Scotland, the government has announced.

Trials are still ongoing for the Valneva vaccine, but manufacturing has already started at the French biotech company’s site in Livingston, West Lothian.

How many doses of the vaccine has the UK ordered?

If the vaccine is given regulatory approval, it could deliver up to 60 million doses to the UK by the end of the year.There is an option to acquire a further 130 million doses if the vaccine is approved.

Valneva will potentially have the capacity to supply up to 250 million doses internationally.

When could the vaccine be approved?

The candidate is currently in phase one/two trials and will need approval from the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) before it is rolled out.

Initial results from the ongoing clinical study, involving 150 participants at testing sites in Bristol, Southampton, Birmingham and Newcastle, are expected in April.

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) said that manufacturing the vaccine now means it can be rolled out quicker if it receives regulatory approval.

It follows a joint investment in the Livingston facility by the Government as part of an agreement to secure early access to the jab, according to the Government.

How does the vaccine work?

The Valneva vaccine works by taking the inactive virus, containing whole bacteria or viruses which have been killed.

It is one of the most proven types of vaccine, which is widely used method also used for flu, polio and rabies jabs.What do officials have to say about the jab?

Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said: “By starting manufacturing, we will have a running start at rolling these out as quickly as possible to protect the British public if it receives regulatory approval.

(PA Graphics) Credit: PA Graphics

“This facility in Scotland, backed by millions from the Government, will help us beat coronavirus and boost our resilience against future pandemics.”

The facility will establish a permanent UK ability to manufacture inactivated viral vaccines, a type which is also used for flu, polio and rabies jabs, according to the BEIS.

Valneva chief executive Thomas Lingelbach said: “Our team in Scotland have done an amazing job to get manufacturing started so quickly.

“We believe that our vaccine, assuming successful development, can make a major contribution in the UK and beyond.”