In an interview with “Point”, the Scientific Director of the Institut Pasteur confirms that the first human clinical trials of a French vaccine against SARS-CoV-2 are about to begin. Will French researchers supplant their Chinese, British and American counterparts in the race for the Covid-19 vaccine? While the former have started the second phase of clinical trials to find a vaccine against the coronavirus, Christophe d’Enfert, scientific director of the Institut Pasteur, confirmed in an interview with Le Point that a vaccine developed by French researchers were going to be tested on humans in July on 90 volunteers.
Developed in partnership with the pharmaceutical group MSD, it follows the tests carried out on animals “throughout the spring”. According to Christophe d’Enfer, the latter made it possible to “select a vaccine candidate which we know allows the production of neutralizing antibodies capable of blocking SARS-CoV-2 in vitro”.
Tested in July with 90 volunteers in France and Belgium, the vaccine developed by researchers at the Institut Pasteur uses an “attenuated strain of the measles virus, normally used for vaccination against measles, and whose heritage Genetics has been modified to produce the Spike protein, which allows the coronavirus to enter our cells, ”explains Christophe d’Enfert.
Phase 1, which “will examine whether its formula is well tolerated, if it does not cause any side effects”, will also “determine which doses are most suitable for producing antibodies and immune cells targeting SARS-CoV- 2 ”. “Depending on the results obtained, we will then launch phases 2 and 3”, which will be combined “to save time” and could start in October, continues the scientific director of the Institut Pasteur.
If phases 2 and 3, intended to verify “if the formula of this vaccine induces a protective immune response” and if “this protects well against an infection”, prove conclusive, Christophe d’Enfert hopes to market the vaccine for “the first half of 2021”.
“We went faster than we hoped on the first stages. All procedures have been speeded up, but there is still a long way to go. And the road is strewn with pitfalls, he warns. There will probably not be a single vaccine against SARS-CoV-2. We know it. The idea is not to be the 30th to arrive on the market but in the top five. The path we are following is clear. And the processes we use are reliable.
Hugues Louissaint is an entrepreneur and writer, living in the US for over a decade. He has launched successful products such the Marabou Coffee brand, which has been highly successful in Florida. He has also been a writer for more than 5 years focusing on science, technology, and health. He writes part-time for the Scientific Origin and provides valuable input on a wide range of subjects.