UK’s fourth Covid vaccine could be ready in 4 weeks, Novavax trial chief says

Professor Paul Heath, chief investigator for the Novavax jab trial in the UK, said that if approved by regulators it would help keep up the “momentum” in the nation’s world-leading vaccine roll-out.

“The regulator will do a very detailed and thorough review and will decide in good time,” he said. “I would hope it would be in the spring, possibly end of April.”

Professor Heath, a consultant in paediatric infectious diseases at St George’s Hospital in Tooting, believes the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency, which has been using a fast-track “rolling review” process, now has nearly all the data it needs to make an approval decision.

It will be manufactured at the Fujifilm plant in Billingham in the North-East.

“The Barnard Castle site are very fired up to do it,” Roger Connor, head of GSK’s vaccine division, told Sky News. “We’ve already started… so we all want to get manufacturing and producing the Novavax vaccine from May this year.”

Meanwhile, another leading scientist warned that Britain must “move with all speed” to the next generation of vaccines because of the pace that Covid-19 is evolving into more dangerous mutations.

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“We can see the virus is really settling into a new genomic sequence,” said Imperial College’s Professor Peter Openshaw, a member of the Nervtag advisory group on new threats. “It’s finding its way in the new human host, and it is evolving.”


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