SPAIN’s answer to combat the coronavirus will begin clinical trials this week in three hospitals across the country.

Developed by Madrid based Janssen Pharmaceuticals, the vaccine, known as Ad26.COV2.S, will roll out for Phase 2 testing on human volunteers for a period of four to six months.

The Hospital of Marques de Valdecilla in Santander will receive the first batch of the vaccine today (Monday 14) to test on 40 test subjects.

The subjects include two groups, 18 to 55-year-olds and 65 and above. 

The La Paz and La Princesa hospitals in Madrid will also begin trials this week on 75 volunteers.

Madrid’s trials were also due to begin today but a ‘problem with the laboratory’ meant testing is delayed until tomorrow.

Alberto Borobia, researcher at the La Paz hospital in Madrid said: “In clinical trials, the vaccine has shown very good protection against COVID-19 as it prevents the reproduction of the virus in the respiratory tract.

“We will administer low doses of the vaccine to the patients to examine whether the subjects begin to develop antibodies.”

Borobia also explained that the vaccine is different from other similar vaccines in that it does not involve injecting a strain of the virus into the body to create antibodies.

“You do not cause an infection of COVID-19 as the vaccine does not come from the virus, it is an artificially created organism designed to attach a specific protein associated with the coronavirus,” added Borobia.

It is expected that the full development and testing of the vaccine could take up to two years to reach the public.

Fellow European countries Belgium and Germany are also beginning Phase 2 trials this week, with a total of 550 volunteers helping with the development.

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