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Denmark funds clinical trials for coronavirus vaccine


Health minister hopeful that test candidate will pass muster

The Danish ministry of health has granted 18.8 million Danish kroner (€2.5 million) to test a new coronavirus vaccine developed by researchers at the country’s State Serum Institute (SSI).

Denmark’s health minister Magnus Heunicke said: “The vaccine has shown promising results in the initial development and testing phase and is now ready to be tested on humans.”

The allocation of funds will be made available for SSI to “prepare forthcoming clinical test phases of the candidate vaccine,” the ministry announced. This funding means that the first clinical test phases can be completed, Heunicke said.

“Subsequently, the vaccine must be tested on a wider scale to see if it fulfils its potential,” he said.

According to health ministry, if the vaccine is effective in the subsequent test phases, it will eventually have to undergo a professional critical evaluation by the European Medicines Agency. Only then—if there is sufficient evidence of efficacy and safety—can it be approved.

“Whatever the outcome of the trial,” said Heunicke, “the development of a vaccine at SSI helps to increase our knowledge of COVID-19 and better equip us for the development of virus vaccines against future pandemics.”

Heunicke said it was important that Denmark plays its part in development and research of vaccines against Covid-19, as this could offer Denmark potential access to a broader range of vaccines.

However, Danish researchers are somewhat behind a vaccine jointly developed in the United States by Pfizer and BioNTech, which was last week shown to be 90 per cent effective in preventing Covid-19 infections in phase 3 trials.

Alongside the vaccine announcement, the SSI revealed that it was launching a website to present the latest information on Covid-19 in one place. This information will include data, infection hygiene as well as analyses and forecasts, the SSI said.