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Scientist to advise on needle-free coronavirus vaccine

PUBLISHED: 09:05 07 May 2020 | UPDATED: 10:27 07 May 2020

Professor Simon Carding has joined the World Health Organisation expert groups on coronavirus vaccines. Picture: Quadram Institute

Professor Simon Carding has joined the World Health Organisation expert groups on coronavirus vaccines. Picture: Quadram Institute

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A Norfolk researcher has joined the World Health Organisation (WHO) to advise how to give the coronavirus vaccine to patients.

Professor Simon Carding, of the Quadram Institute and University of East Anglia’s Norwich Medical School, is one of three UK scientists that have been invited by WHO and will be looking at vaccine prioritisation.

Fellow Quadram researcher Dr Simon Funnell, also of Public Health England, sits on WHO’s Covid-19 expert advisory group on animal models.

Professor Carding said: “Being asked to work on a WHO expert advisory group is always an honour.

“As a researcher, it’s a reflection of the impact of your research and expertise built up over the years and, of course, it’s a privilege to be able to help the global response to COVID-19, alongside your peers, through the World Health Organisation.”

During the pandemic, Professor Carding, along with co-researchers from the universities of Liverpool and Kent, has been working on a way for potential vaccines to be administered into the body.

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The Quadram Institute Bioscience, based in Norwich, has been developing a needle-free way of administrating the vaccine by looking at the outer membrane vesciles (OMVs) that are produced in gut bacteria.

The research centre said there were a number of advantages to an OMV-based vaccine – of which one is included in WHO’s list of candidate vaccines for Covid-19.

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Among the advantages experts said would be the creation of a needle-free vaccination, rapid cost-effective production, and a stable product that can be stored for months without cold storage.

As part of the Covid expert advisory groups, Professor Carding will join monthly meetings with all vaccine developers to discuss the status of clinical development and look at gaps in research and development.

The group will then discuss if WHO should look at the gaps.

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Professor Carding said: “The WHO expert advisory group I’ve joined is reviewing data from vaccine developers in closed session for evaluation.

“Assuming there is sufficient transmission of COVID-19 globally, WHO will facilitate the implementation of the evaluation of the prioritized vaccines in countries with sufficient anticipated transmission.”


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