Coronavirus vaccine trial in Romania sparks UK interest
The UK Embassy in Romania will assist the team of OncoGen, the Timișoara-based researchers currently working on a Covid-19 vaccine, to get in contact with the British vaccine researchers and share their work.
British Ambassador to Romania Andrew Noble held a “productive call” with professor Virgil Păunescu, the director of the Center for Gene and Cellular Therapies in the treatment of Cancer – OncoGen, on May 12, the Embassy said in a press release.
“I appreciated the opportunity to hear Professor Păunescu discussing the progress of his trial, and we will gladly assist his team in making contact with British vaccine researchers so that they and his team can discuss and share their research. Romania should be proud to have produced a candidate vaccine, which will contribute to our growing knowledge of the virus. The proper funding vaccine research and sharing the findings of scientific endeavor is the only sure way to defeat this virus,” the ambassador said.
The ambassador also said the route to a vaccine against Covid-19 is one with many challenges, and it “must be an urgent collaborative effort involving governments, the pharmaceutical sector and the scientific community across the world.”
The UK Government has committed GBP 388 million to vaccines, tests, and treatments, and on May 4, co-hosted the Global Coronavirus Pledging Conference, at which governments across the world pledged GBP 6.5 billion.
The work of OncoGen has been included on a World Health Organization draft list of candidate vaccines in preclinical evaluation. The list is available here.
OncoGen, which is affiliated to the Timișoara County Hospital, did not receive funding from the Romanian state for the development of the vaccine. Virgil Păunescu, the head of OncoGen, is currently the subject of an internal investigation of the County Hospital for having administered himself the vaccine to study its effects, G4media.ro reported.