The government of the United Kingdom has added the CureVac vaccine by the German manufacturer of the same name as it battles with the new variant of the COVID-19 that’s currently ravaging the United Kingdom.
According to the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy of the UK, they have ordered 50 million doses of the CureVac vaccine.
The CureVac vaccine is currently undertaking a large-scale clinic trial to determine its efficacy against the new variant of the coronavirus.
The BEIS said that the UK has already inked a deal with the German manufacturer even as it is still putting its vaccine to the test in clinical trials. According to the BEIS, the country’s “expertise on genomics and virus sequencing” will allow CureVac to come up with new and more effective messenger RNA vaccines.
The BEIS added that, with CureVac still in clinical trials, the 50-million order will most likely be fulfilled only in the later parts of 2021.
In addition to the UK government, CureVac has also partnered with GlaxoSmithKline for the development of COVID-19 vaccines that are retooled specifically to fight against possible new variants of the COVID-19 in the future.
To this end, the government of the United Kingdom is currently creating an expert advisory committee tasked to tackle issues pertaining to future new variants of the COVID-19.
Any new vaccine that comes out of this arrangement, the government agency said, will take its roots in the messenger RNA vaccines researched and developed by CureVac.
The BEIS also said that the UK will leverage the existing partnership in order to be able to domestically produce its COVID-19 vaccines based on the CureVac product.
This comes after the European Union issued a directive last week prohibiting European pharmaceutical companies producing vaccines from importing any of their stockpiles abroad until all of the orders made by the EU’s member nations are fulfilled first.
These new developments also come after lab tests theorize that the Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna vaccines that have been approved for emergency use by the US actually have lower efficacy against the recent South African variant of the COVID-19.
The South African variant of COVID-19 has demonstrated the ability to neutralize antibodies produced by the body against the virus.
UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock insisted that these vaccines can still provide protection against even the new variants. However, Secretary Hancock said that there is a need for the UK to be prepared for any eventuality involving the COVID-19 virus.
“We must be prepared for all eventualities and bolster onshore UK manufacturing capacity to develop vaccines to combat new variants of the disease, taking advantage of our world-leading genomics expertise,” he said.
England’s deputy chief medical officer added that the country’s medical experts must adapt and create new vaccines in order to provide the utmost protection despite mutations to these organisms’ genetic code.
“Being able to create these new vaccines at speed will allow our scientists to keep ahead of the virus as they do every year with the influenza vaccine,” Prof Jonathan Van-Tam said.