While the US lab Pfizer and Germany’s BioNTech welcome the authorization of their vaccine against Covid-19 in the UK on Wednesday, December 2, where is research in France? French volunteers will be testing three vaccine projects in the coming weeks. 41,000 people signed up with Inserm and some of them will start testing vaccine projects from mid-December. The French results will be added to the results sometimes already obtained by manufacturers in other countries of the world.
French volunteers will start clinical trials very soon, explains Professor Odile Launay, who coordinates the vaccine platform. “We were approached by the Janssen laboratories. France should participate with about 1,000 participants and the start is scheduled for mid-December. The second trial, in which France will participate, will again take about 1,000 participants, it is a trial with AstraZeneca. And again, it’s two injections one month apart. ”
These two studies are in phase 3, the last straight line of verifying the efficacy and tolerance of the vaccine project in humans. Janssen starts phase 3 and AstraZeneca is finishing it and wants to consolidate its data. Volunteers will receive the vaccine or a placebo and live a normal life. Scientists will be observing over the next few weeks and months whether they are infected with Covid and whether they have severe forms of the disease.
Finally, a third trial will see the light of day on the US Moderna vaccine project in early January. It will mainly focus on the question of the effectiveness of the product in the elderly. It is being tested on 120 volunteers of more than 70 and 60 younger people. We then compare the results. “Why the elderly? Because age is the main risk factor for the severe form of Covid-19,” explains Professor Jean-Daniel Lelièvre who will conduct this test. And second, because we know that with aging, the immune response is generally worse. The study in these specific populations is more than relevant. ”
41,000 volunteers have registered on the French vaccine testing platform. Only a small proportion will currently be requested for these three clinical studies. But other studies should follow, Inserm assures. There are still many questions to be answered, the researchers say.