Scientific expert addresses fears over Covid vaccine development speed

16 November 2020, 15:12 | Updated: 16 November 2020, 15:21

Scientific expert addresses fears over Covid vaccine development speed
Scientific expert addresses fears over Covid vaccine development speed. Picture: PA/LBC

By Sam Sholli

A scientific expert has directly addressed fears over the speed at which Covid-19 vaccines are being developed, while on LBC.

Dr Paul Stoffels, who is the Chief Scientific Officer at Johnson & Johnson, tackled the issue while talking to LBC's Shelagh Fogarty.

Johnson & Johnson owns the global pharmaceutical company Janssen, which has announced it will today begin clinical trials of its potential vaccine in the UK involving 6,000 volunteers across the country.

Janssen's study, which is being jointly funded by the UK Government’s Vaccine Taskforce, is the latest to test the safety and effectiveness of a potential Covid-19 vaccine.

Addressing fears people have over speed of development of Covid-19 vaccines, Dr Stoffels said: "It is very quick because we have done everything in parallel. We have worked very hard.

"We started from a very well known platform, which we have been using for developing a vaccine for Ebola, for RSV, for Zika and also for HIV. More than 100,000 people have been vaccinated with this platform..."

He added: "We are also supervised by the regulatory authorities. We, of course, don't do this on our own. At every step we interact with regulators, with scientists at the governments who then have to give us permission to take the next step.

"So it's a very well-controlled process on getting us to this result."

Janseen's vaccine is the third potential one to enter clinical trials in the UK, alongside US biotech company Novavax and University of Oxford / AstraZeneca whose studies are currently ongoing.

Meanwhile, interim data from the US firm Moderna suggests that its Covid-19 vaccine is highly effective in preventing people getting ill and also works across all age groups, including the elderly.

Scientists said the news bodes well for other Covid-19 vaccines, with the one for the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca due to report in the coming days or weeks.