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Finnish coronavirus vaccine to start trials, but won’t be ready till 2021

The first vaccines may well get licensed this year, but Finland might not get enough doses of those.

Virologian professori Kalle Saksela laboratoriossa Hgin Yliopiston Meilahden lääketieteellisessä laitoksessa.
Professor Kalle Saksela of the University of Helsinki says he is Image: Jorma Vihtonen / Yle

A Finnish project to produce a coronavirus vaccine will soon start testing in animals. The researchers are led by Kalle Saksela of the University of Helsinki.

Scientists say their vaccine should be ready by autumn 2021, well behind the leading researchers internationally.

Finnish researchers say they intend to plough on regardless, as production capacity might not be sufficient to ensure Finland gets enough doses of vaccine from the more advanced projects.

Finland’s Ministry of Social Affairs and Health says it is focused on international efforts first, but will follow the Finnish project too, and it may come in handy as knowledge of the virus develops.

“Just as with influenza every year we seek to discover which combination goes into the vaccine, what should be in there, what is effective,” said Varhila. “And I’m sure the Finnish vaccines will be in there too in future.”

Researchers in Tampere are working on another vaccine, but are not as far advanced as the Helsinki group.

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