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Call for volunteers to open a new front on coronavirus through vaccine trial

Call for volunteers to open a new front on coronavirus through vaccine trial

Southampton doctors are calling on the city and region’s adults to join trials of a vaccine using tried and tested technology to tackle the virus from yet another angle.

These early phase 1 and 2 studies are testing how well the UK-developed vaccine triggers the body’s immune defences against coronavirus, and its safety in 150 healthy adults aged 18-55. Southampton doctors are asking the city and region to help out and sign up via the link at www.UKCovid19study.com.

“It’s vital we continue to test new vaccines as they become available. As the new variants have shown, coronavirus keeps moving the goalposts and it’s unlikely that there will be a single solution that protects everyone and gets us out of this,” comments Professor Saul Faust, Clinical Director of NIHR CRN Wessex, who is leading the trial locally.

“Different vaccines work in different ways and we need the public’s help to understand how well each one protects us and prevents transmission, particularly which ones are most appropriate for different groups of people. Searching ‘covid19 study registry’ and signing up is a positive step anyone can take to help the NHS tackle the virus and get us all out of the pandemic,” adds Prof Faust.

Made by biotech company Valneva, this latest vaccine uses a proven technology already used in existing vaccines used for prevention of diseases such as flu, Japanese encephalitis, tick borne encephalitis, polio, and rabies. In doing so, it takes a completely different approach to the recently licensed Oxford-AstraZeneca, Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, potentially providing additional resilience against new variants.

If successful, these early trials will pave the way for larger trials involving more than 4,000 volunteers UK-wide, testing two doses of the vaccine in those aged 18-65 and the over 65s.

Early access to 60 million doses of this vaccine, subject to successful trials, has been secured by the UK Government, with up to 250 million vaccine doses to be supplied worldwide.

This is the fifth NIHR-supported vaccine to enter clinical trials in the UK, alongside Oxford/AstraZeneca, Imperial College London, Novavax and Janssen, whose studies are currently ongoing.

Some of the volunteers taking part in these latest clinical trials came through from the NHS COVID-19 Vaccine Research Registry, which enables the UK public to support the national effort to speed up vaccine research.

Over 365,000 people have already signed up to the Registry, giving their permission to be contacted about taking part in vaccine research and more volunteers are still needed.

The Registry was launched by the UK government in partnership with the NIHR, NHS Digital, the Scottish and Welsh governments and the Northern Ireland Executive earlier this year.

The UK public can support the 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.