Valneva has chosen UK-based diagnostics company Oxford Immunotec to perform T cell testing on participants receiving its COVID-19 vaccine candidate (VLA2001) in a Phase I/II study.

Valneva’s VLA2001-201 study is designed to investigate the safety, tolerability and immunogenicity of its inactivated SARS-CoV-2 virus vaccine in healthy subjects.

Oxford Immunotec’s T-SPOT Discovery SARS-CoV-2 test will evaluate if vaccination with Valneva’s vaccine candidate induces a T cell response in study participants.

In previous studies, Oxford Immunotec’s test has demonstrated that SARS-CoV-2 responsive T cell numbers were associated with protection from COVID-19.

The aim of collecting T cell data from the VLA2001-201 study is to potentially gather additional information for assessing the efficacy of Valneva’s COVID-19 vaccine candidate.

“I am proud of all the hard work being done by our teams to enable our T cell test to be used to better understand the efficacy of this vaccine candidate,” said Dr Peter Wrighton-Smith, chief executive officer of Oxford Immunotec.

“Understanding the T cell response as well as the antibody response will lead to a greater understanding of the breadth of the immune response to this candidate, and that could be vitally important, particularly as new variants of SARS-CoV-2 continue to appear,” he added.

Valneva launched its early-stage COVID-19 vaccine trial in December 2020, with the study currently being conducted across four study sites in the UK.

Valneva expects the primary endpoint read-out to be ready two weeks after completion of the two-dose primary immunisation (day 0,28).

Following analysis of this data, including the selection of the optimal dose currently expected in the early second quarter of 2021, further trials are expected to launch ‘immediately’.