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Barts Health call for Londoners to help trial a new Covid-19 vaccine

Barts Health call for Londoners to help trial a new Covid-19 vaccine

Londoners are being urged to join a leading phase three Covid-19 vaccine study, launched today by Barts Health NHS Trust and Queen Mary University of London.

The latest study, supported by NIHR and co-funded by the UK government’s Vaccine Taskforce, will test the safety and effectiveness of a new two-dose vaccine, developed by the global pharmaceutical company, Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies, part of Johnson & Johnson.

Clinical trials of the potential vaccine begin in the UK from today (Monday 16 November). The study will recruit up to 30,000 people worldwide with 6,000 of them in the UK. Barts Health is looking to recruit around 400 participants.

Staff from all hospital sites across Barts Health, together with Queen Mary researchers, will be working together, alongside medical school students and Trust volunteers, to run the trial from the Barts Health Vaccines Trials Centre at Bethnal Green Library.

Covid-19 can affect anyone and everyone, but it disproportionately affects people from Black, Asian and other ethnic minority (BAME) communities. Research has shown that people from BAME communities were more likely to die from Covid-19, as is evident when studying the effects of Covid-19 on east London communities, who were severely affected in the first peak of the pandemic.

The Barts Health Vaccines Trials Centre at Bethnal Green Library is encouraging people from all ethnicities, minorities and health groups to take part in this trial to ensure any vaccines developed work for everyone.

Recruitment into the “ENSEMBLE-2” study, which will be led by Professor Patrick Kennedy, will complete in March 2021.

Professor Kennedy, principal investigator for the study and honorary hepatologist consultant at Barts Health, said:

“While the recent data from the Pfizer phase three study represents a potential major breakthrough in tackling the Covid public health emergency, we will still have to overcome significant challenges before we have a number of safe and effective vaccines which are available globally.

“More vaccine trails are needed to better understand how effective they will be in different age groups, in people with chronic medical conditions and for how long the vaccines will provide immunity.  

“I am delighted to be the principal investigator on this study and to be working with an outstanding team at Barts Health so we can address these important questions and contribute to the development of a safe and effective vaccine.”

Chloe Orkin, Clinical Director of the Barts Health Vaccine Trials Centre, Professor of HIV Medicine at Queen Mary University of London and Black, Asian and minority ethnic Clinical Champion for CRN North Thames, said:

“Offering vaccine research adds to our Covid-19 treatment research which has already saved lives. I am really excited and proud to be leading this effort to offer both our staff and the people of east London this opportunity to take part in a vaccine study.

“The hope is that our participation will lead to a safe and effective vaccine for our patients, ourselves and our families and a return to normal life”

If you’d like to know more about taking part in the trial, you can visit the Barts Health NHS Trust website or email covidresearch.bartshealth@nhs.net 

The UK public can also support the wider national effort to speed up vaccine research and receive more information about volunteering for clinical studies by visiting www.nhs.uk/researchcontact to join the NHS COVID-19 Vaccine Research Registry.