UK scientists creating universal vaccine to ‘beat all Covid variants’

British scientists are hoping to intensify the fight against Covid by manufacturing a universal version of the vaccine to beat all strains of the deadly virus.

Scientists at the University of Nottingham are hoping to develop a one-dose-treats all style jab which will be successful at treating all strains of the Covid-19 virus.

It would eliminate the need to keep tweaking the vaccines as the virus mutates.

UK cancer treatment company Scancell are working with the researchers to devise the variant-proof vaccine – with the hopes it could be ready as soon as next year.

The Telegraph reports that human trials of the universal vaccine will be ready to commence in the second half of 2021.

Scancell chief medical officer Dr Gillies O’Bryan-Tear said: "We don’t necessarily claim it will be a pan-coronavirus vaccine, but it has got the potential to be so simply because of where it is targeted.”

The desire for a universal treatment has been spurred by concerns that mutated versions of Covid-19 could outsmart current vaccines.

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Current vaccines like those devised by Pfizer and AstraZeneca target the spike protein in the Covid-19 virus – but this element can change and could make the vaccines less effective.

The universal vaccine hopes to target proteins at the centre of the virus which would still be neutralised by vaccines even if it mutates.

Scancell has requested funding in the range of hundreds of millions of pounds to further the research and development of the universal treatment.

Dr O'Bryan-Tear said: "There is no reason why, if we get a partner, we shouldn't be able to do it as quickly as the others have done it.

"I think the pandemic will be around for two or three more years, because of supply, because of not being able to vaccinate developing countries.

"During that time, the virus will mutate, so there are plenty of opportunities for new entrants to try their hand.”

However, researchers have noted that there is no evidence so far to suggest that existing vaccines are not effective against emerging newer strains.

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