FAST FIVE: Top UK Scientists Warn "Many, Or All" COVID-19 Vaccine Projects Could Fail, First Gen "Likely To Be Imperfect"

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Well, on Wednesday morning, as the US government struck a deal to buy $375 million worth of an experimental Eli Lilly COVID-19 antibody drug following questionable trial results, a team of leading scientists in the UK warned that the quest for a vaccine could be complicated by an “imperfect” initial round of tests.

The letter is clearly an effort to temper people's expectations as a growing body of research shows that COVID-19 immunity is more complicated than many would suspect, while President Trump continues to insist that a vaccine will be available within weeks as he battles for reelection.

The Vaccine Taskforce has now secured access to six vaccines (from more than 240 vaccines in development) across four different formats: adenoviral vectors, mRNA, adjuvanted proteins, and whole inactivated viral vaccines, which are promising in different ways.

Two phase 3 efficacy clinical trials are now underway in the UK; the Oxford AstraZeneca adenovirus-vectored vaccine (NCT04400838) and the world's first phase 3 study for Novavax's protein-adjuvant vaccine (NCT04368988), both occurring at various sites across the UK.

To help to accelerate the development of successful vaccines, we launched the National Health Service COVID-19 vaccine registry7 and have enrolled over 295 000 volunteers,8 with a focus on populations who are at high risk of severe infection and mortality from COVID-19.

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