CLINICAL trials for a vaccine against the novel coronavirus are due to start in Spain ‘imminently’.
Spain’s Agency for Medicine and Health Products (AEMPS) has authorised the trial by US multinational Johnson & Johnson.
It will involve 190 healthy volunteers and be held across three Spanish hospitals, according to Health minister Salvador Illa, who said the search for volunteers is on.
Another 400 people are taking part in the medical tests in Germany and Belgium.
They will be aged between 18 and 55 and over 65.
The Spanish hospitals taking part are La Paz and La Princesa in Madrid, and Marques de Valdecilla in Santander .
This is Phase 2 of the trial and is expected to take two months to complete, although preliminary results may be available in just a month. Phase 1 has been carried out in the US and Belgium.
There will then be a Phase 3 before the vaccine can be rolled out.
In an interview with Spanish television show ‘El Rojo Vivo’, Illa announced that an agreement had been reached with British – Swedish pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca.
The vaccine, AZD7442, has been developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University.
Spain secured an order for 31 million doses of a potential vaccine on August 14, it was announced.
But the doses will not be delivered until clinical trials on 30,000 volunteers have been completed.
The AstraZeneca order will bolster a further 80 million doses authorised by American laboratory Moderna to be manufactured in Madrid.
Other companies such as Sonfi, GSK and Janssen are also in talks with the European Commission to supply Spain with vaccines, honouring their word of supplying a minimum of 1.1 billion doses in Spain by 2021.