After contract cancelled...

Valneva says its Covid jab better than AstraZeneca’s

Valneva Covid vaccine

Firm has just completed a trial

French firm Valneva says its Covid-19 vaccine gives stronger immunity than the one produced by AstraZeneca.

The company’s claims, based on a large-scale trial published today, comes just weeks after the UK government cancelled a €1.4bn (£1.3bn) contract to produce 100 million doses.

Valneva, which denied government allegations that it had breached contractual terms, said its trial showed there were no cases of severe Covid-19 across 4.012 volunteer adults who were given two shots of either the Valneva or AstraZeneca vaccine.

However, those who received Valneva’s vaccine showed higher levels of neutralising antibodies, or immunity.

The trial’s chief investigator, professor of paediatrics at the University of Bristol, Adam Finn, hailed the results as impressive and extremely encouraging. Its share price soared by 38.8 % on the news. 

For the trial, which started in September 2020, the French firm collaborated with the National Institute for Health Research and clinical teams within NHS Research Centres, as well as Public Health England.

The French firm, which was in the process of building an extension to its Livingston plant to manufacture the vaccine, is now readying a trial to evaluate its booster’s performance for those people who may need a third shot. It is also preparing for trials in children from 5 to 12 years of age.

Thomas Lingelbach, chief executive at Valneva, said: “We are committed to bringing our differentiated vaccine candidate to licensure as quickly as possible and continue to believe that we will be able to make an important contribution to the global fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We are keen to propose an alternative vaccine solution for people who have not yet been vaccinated.”

Covid-19 claims former US Secretary of State

Colin Powell, former joint chief of staff and US Secretary of State, has died from Covid-19 complications, his family said today. He was 84 and had been fully vaccinated.

Mr Powell was the first black Secretary of State who helped formulated foreign policy under several presidents.

The retired four-star general, who was also suffering from Parkinson’s, served as a soldier in Vietnam.

In an announcement on social media, his family said: “We have lost a remarkable and loving husband, father and grandfather and a great American.”

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