New clinical trial for a COVID-19 vaccine authorised in Germany

The Paul-Ehrlich-Institut, Federal Institute for Vaccines and Biomedicines has authorised another Phase-1 clinical trial of a vaccine against COVID-19 in Germany. The new vaccine candidate is a so-called vector vaccine. Trials on vaccine candidates in humans are a significant step in the direction of authorising safe and efficacious vaccines against COVID-19.

This new vaccine is a vector vaccine developed by the German Center for Infection Research (Deutsches Zentrum für Infektionsforschung, DZIF) and the IDT Biologika GmbH against SARS-CoV-2. In this vector vaccine, the genetic information for the spike surface protein of the SARS-CoV-2 virus is built into the smallpox vaccine virus MVA. The starting vaccine virus MVA was already developed more than 30 years ago at the Ludwig-Maximilians University (LMU) in Munich, and the authorised smallpox vaccine Imvanex was derived from it. The viral vector MVA equipped with the genetic information of SARS-CoV-2 cannot replicate in the body after injection. The genetic information (desoxyribonucleic acid, DNA) of the spike protein of the virus thus inserted is used in the body to form the spike protein. The immune system recognises the foreign spike protein and triggers an immune response. The aim is to generate antibodies, certain cytokines and immune cells (T cells) for lasting protection against SARS-CoV-2. Preclinical models at the universities of Marburg and Munich have already shown that the MVA vector vaccine against SARS-CoV-2 shows the desired immune responses and a protective effect.

The clinical trial authorised by the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut on 30 September 2020 is a phase 1 clinical trial with altogether 30 healthy subjects aged between 18 and 55 years. The participants receive two vaccinations at an interval of four weeks. The working group at the University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf (UKE) and the DZIF partner in Marburg are simultaneously measuring the formation of antibodies and T cells in the body and comparing them with the immune response of recovered COVID-19 patients. The UKE is responsible for the clinical trial, which is carried out jointly with the contracted medical institute CTC North. The study is financed by public funds from the DZIF.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), as per 30 September 2020, the vaccine candidate is one of the 41 preventive specific COVID-19 vaccine candidates being evaluated in clinical trials. In Germany, it represents the first authorised phase 1 clinical trial for a vector-based COVID-19 vaccine. The increasing number of clinical trials worldwide is an important step toward authorising safe and efficacious COVID-19 vaccine products.

The Paul-Ehrlich-Institut, which is the competent authority for authorising clinical trials and the evaluation and marketing authorisation of vaccines in Germany, expects additional clinical trials for COVID-19 vaccine candidates to start in Germany in the next few months. The Paul-Ehrlich-Institut supports the worldwide COVID-19 vaccine development with top priority.

Background for Vector Vaccines

COVID-19 vector vaccines contain innocuous parts of the genome of SARS-CoV-2 in their genetic information, i.e. the blueprint for the spike protein or for a component of that spike protein. After this genetic information has entered a few body cells of the vaccinated subject, it is read (like the genetic information of the body cells itself) in the cells as messenger RNA, and the appropriate surface structures (proteins) of the virus are produced. The immune system reacts to the foreign protein thus formed and forms defences against it (among other things antibodies). If the person thus vaccinated comes into contact with SARS-CoV-2 later on, the immune system will recognise the surface structure with the aim to prevent or alleviate a serious course of a COVID-19 infection, and even to reduce the transmission of SARS-CoV-2 from human to human.

Most Popular Now

Sanofi and GSK sign agreements with the Government…

Sanofi and GSK have signed agreements with the Government of Canada for the supply of up to 72 million doses of an adjuvanted COVID-19 vaccine, beginning in 2021. Thom...

BioNTech and Pfizer initiate rolling submission to…

Pfizer Inc. (NYSE: PFE) and BioNTech SE (Nasdaq: BNTX) today announced the initiation of a rolling submission to the European Medicines Agency (EMA) for BNT162b2, the lea...

Johnson & Johnson initiates pivotal global Pha…

Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ) (the Company) announced the launch of its large-scale, pivotal, multi-country Phase 3 trial (ENSEMBLE) for its COVID-19 vaccine candidate, J...

Scientists trace severe COVID-19 to faulty genes a…

More than 10 percent of young and healthy people who develop severe COVID-19 have misguided antibodies that attack not the virus, but the immune system itself, new resear...

Vir Biotechnology and GSK announce global expansio…

Vir Biotechnology, Inc. (Nasdaq: VIR) and GlaxoSmithKline plc (LSE/NYSE: GSK) announced the global expansion to Phase 3 of the COMET-ICE (COVID-19 Monoclonal antibody Eff...

Johnson & Johnson announces European Commissio…

Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ) (the Company) announced the European Commission (EC), acting on behalf of the European Union (EU) Member States, has approved an Advance Pur...

Johns Hopkins researchers publish COVID-19 'predic…

Using a combination of demographic and clinical data gathered from seven weeks of COVID-19 patient care early in the coronavirus pandemic, Johns Hopkins researchers today...

Web resources bring new insight into COVID-19

Researchers around the world are a step closer to a better understanding of the intricacies of COVID-19 thanks to two new web resources developed by investigators at Bayl...

COVID-19 vaccine AZD1222 clinical trial resumed in…

The Phase I/II clinical trial for the COVID-19 vaccine AZD1222 has resumed in Japan after discussion with the Japanese Pharmaceuticals and Medical Devices Agency (PMDA). ...

COVID-19 Long-Acting AntiBody (LAAB) combination A…

AstraZeneca's long-acting antibody (LAAB) combination, AZD7442, will advance into two Phase III clinical trials in more than 6,000 participants at sites in and outside th...

Adequate levels of vitamin D reduces complications…

Hospitalized COVID-19 patients who were vitamin D sufficient, with a blood level of 25-hydroxyvitamin D of at least 30 ng/mL (a measure of vitamin D status), had a signif...

Protective antibodies persist for months in surviv…

People who survive serious COVID-19 infections have long-lasting immune responses against the virus, according to a new study led by researchers at Massachusetts General ...