Corona vaccine number six is ​​at the start. European institutions recently gave the green light to Valneva’s inactivated vaccine. The vaccine can therefore be vaccinated in Germany in the future. What constitutes the inactivated vaccine.

After the European Medicines Agency EMA, the EU Commission also gave its approval for the corona vaccine from the French pharmaceutical company Valneva for the EU market a few days ago.

It is the sixth vaccine against the corona virus in the EU – and the first standard approval. The previous vaccines were approved very quickly due to the acute emergency situation of the pandemic, but only “conditionally”. Their approval must be renewed every year, reports the portal “Pharma Food” .

Unlike the previously approved vaccines, Valneva is an inactivated vaccine. You can find out how it works, what side effects it has and for whom it is approved here.

“VLA2001” is an inactivated virus vaccine. It is “a classic vaccine technology that has been used for 60 to 70 years with proven processes and a very high level of safety,” as the EU Commission said in 2021. The technology is also used in most flu vaccines and many vaccines for childhood diseases. This makes “VLA2001” the only corona vaccine based on inactivated viruses, i.e. the only “real” dead corona vaccine that is currently approved in Europe.

So the vaccine exists

The adjuvants usually “trigger an endogenous alarm system and thus fool the immune system into believing that pathogens have penetrated the body to a considerable extent” is how the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) describes the procedure. The sensors of this alarm system can be found on the surface and inside of various immune cells. The immune system then reacts to the alarm with increased activity. As a result, the body produces more antibodies against the virus.

According to a statement, the company determined the effectiveness in a comparative study with the vector vaccine from Astrazeneca. The Valneva vaccine achieved an immune response in 95 percent of all participants. The concentration of the antibodies is superior to that of the Astrazeneca vaccine.

According to experts, it has not yet been proven whether vaccinated people are just as well protected against disease by the Valneva preparation as with the currently vaccinated mRNA vaccines. This was recently emphasized by Stiko member Christian Bogdan in the “Apotheken-Umschau”: “The Valneva vaccine was compared with the Astrazeneca vaccine. The protective effect of the vector vaccine Astrazeneca is certainly lower than that of the mRNA vaccines.” Nevertheless, according to the EU authorities, the effectiveness is sufficient for approval.

Valneva also examined the side effects as part of this comparative study. Accordingly, the vaccine was “well tolerated” and “showed a statistically significantly better tolerability profile” compared to the Astrazeneca vaccine.

As physician and Stiko expert Bogdan emphasizes, the data so far cannot rule out rare side effects: “Approximately 2,000 people received the Valneva vaccine in the study,” he said. “On this basis, I cannot make any reliable statement about side effects that occur less frequently than 1 in 100. That is statistically impossible.”

The preparation has been approved for people aged 18 to 50 for the time being. Since there is not enough data on the effects on people older than 50 years, the preparation should initially only be approved up to this age.

It is not yet clear when the new vaccine will be used in Germany. In theory, however, we have a few doses available. The European Union signed a deal with the French company last November, allowing it to buy up to 60 million doses of the Valneva vaccine.

According to the company, the Valneva vaccine also protects against the omicron variant. As the company announced in January, preliminary laboratory studies showed that three doses of vaccine candidate VLA2001 neutralized the omicron variant (B.1.1.529 lineage). 100 percent of the tested serum samples showed neutralizing antibodies against the delta variant and 87 percent against the omicron variant. So far, however, there is no independent data on its effectiveness against Omikron. According to the EMA, experts have not yet been able to determine how effective the vaccine is against the omicron variant of the virus.