An Italian firm has published promising results from its phase-two clinical trials, in which its Covid-19 vaccine induced an antibody response in 93% of volunteers three weeks after the first dose, reaching 99% after the second.

In a press statement on Monday, Italian biotech company ReiThera said its candidate vaccine was well tolerated and “induces clear immune responses in trial subjects.” 

The vaccine, called GRAd-COV2, generated an antibody response against the virus’s spike protein in over 93% of volunteers after the first dose, reaching 99% after the second.

The study involved 917 volunteers over the age of 18 at 24 centers across Italy. A quarter of volunteers were either over the age of 65 or had conditions associated with an increased risk of severe Covid-19.

“We are very excited about the preliminary phase two data,” said Roberto Camerini, ReiThera’s medical director, adding: “Our vaccine candidate confirmed its excellent safety and good immunogenicity profile in a large cohort. ReiThera reaffirms its commitment to the fight against Covid-19 in the face of pressing global demand for additional vaccines.” 

While the company’s statement says that independent advisory boards recommend continuing the trial and advancing to phase three, ReiThera will need at least 60 million euros ($71 million) to fund the final-phase trial. In May, a state audit court rejected a plan that would pump public money into the firm.

ReiThera has already held early talks with the EU concerning a possible deal that would see Brussels diversify its supply of vaccines, which is currently highly reliant on shots provided by Pfizer and Moderna.

Moderna’s CEO Stephane Bancel has previously warned that the world may have an oversupply of Covid-19 vaccines in 2022, as firms such as themselves hugely increase vaccine manufacturing capacity, and this could be challenging for developers.

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