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UZ Gent begins final phase of COVID-19 vaccine development: “We hope to introduce a vaccine by summer”

The Center for Vaccinology (CEVAC) at UZ Gent is starting preparations for the final phase in the development of a vaccine against the coronavirus. The Center is looking for 2,000 participants and new employees in our country for this phase. It is the first time that this last phase has been reached in Belgium. Elsewhere, other vaccines may be ready just a little earlier.

The UZ in Ghent has started the last phase of the development of a vaccine against the corona virus. And you can certainly call that good news. The Center for Vaccinology (CEVAC) has been engaged in the study for months and will now test three candidate vaccines for effectiveness. In the first two phases, research has already been carried out into the safety, dosage and response of the immune system. Now these are the main questions: Does it protect participants from COVID-19 infection or make the disease less severe than normal? It is still a secret which three candidate vaccines have made it to the podium.

The start-up of the last phase is no small job. The Center for Vaccinology is setting up a new unit close to its building to be able to test the candidate vaccines on participants. These classrooms will be built and furnished in the coming weeks. The Center is also looking for 2,000 participants to be able to test the vaccine.

Not everyone can participate. In order to be able to do these kinds of studies, the contamination level in the region must be high enough. “We must be able to determine the degree of contamination among the participants and to what extent the vaccine offers protection,” says department head Isabel Leroux-Roels. “So the participants have to be exposed to the virus often enough.” There are also a number of general criteria.

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