Italy has started human trials of a potential Covid-19 vaccine as part of the global efforts to develop a response to the novel coronavirus.
Rome’s Lazzaro Spallanzani National Institute for Infectious Diseases is conducting trials on 90 healthy volunteers over the next few weeks.
The Phase I trial is being conducted under the sponsorship of Rome-based biopharmaceutical products developer and producer ReiThera.
Spallanzani hospital health director Francesco Vaia said that the first patient will be monitored for at least four hours before being allowed to go home.
He added that the patient will be put under observation for 12 weeks.
Reuters quoted Vaia as stating: “We will see if it produces any side effects and if it produces neutralising antibodies.
“If we are able to be fast, we will have the first shots on the market next spring”.
Vaia further said that the second phase of testing will take place in countries like Mexico and Brazil with higher infection rates.
ReiThera chief technology officer Stefano Colloca said: “This study is the first important step in the clinical development of our novel GRAd-COV2 vaccine against Covid-19.
“We are proud to undertake this trial in Italy where the impact of Covid-19 has been felt particularly hard. The cutting-edge science behind our approach is backed by many years of pioneering research on adenoviral vector technologies with pre-clinical and clinical data generated with a single-dose vaccine in other serious infectious diseases demonstrating potent humoral and cellular immune responses.”
Meanwhile, the number of daily coronavirus cases recorded in Italy has nearly doubled in the past five days, rising to more than 1,200 on 23 August.
The country has so far witnessed over 35,000 deaths.