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East of England participant enrols in ‘first in human’ flu vaccine trial

A picture of Andrew.

A communications expert has enrolled in a global trial for an investigational vaccine taking place at the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) Clinical Research Facility (CRF) at the Quadram Institute in Norwich.

The Odyssey trial is investigating people’s immune response to several investigational messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccines (special types of molecules rather than pieces of harmless viruses or bacteria used in ‘traditional’ vaccines) in human volunteers for the first time. The study will also evaluate the investigational vaccine’s safety.

Andrew, who works at the Quadram Institute, signed up for the trial after seeing it advertised on a flyer. 

Andrew, who also took part in another trial during the Covid pandemic, received two doses of the investigational vaccine and he will be monitored until May 2024.

Andrew has had a positive experience of taking part in the trial, praising the “very friendly” research team. He said:

“I was comfortable with taking part in a ‘first in human’ trial, as I know how much focus there is on monitoring participant safety.

“I think if you get the chance to take part in a trial, you are potentially helping scientists tackle the next big challenge that we might have.

“The only way that healthcare can improve and advance is through research, so to get involved in a trial is valuable because you’re potentially contributing towards the future of healthcare.”

The investigational vaccines have been created by Moderna, who are using mRNA science to help create a new generation of medicines aimed at preventing global influenza (flu) outbreaks, such as bird flu and swine flu.

The investigational mRNA vaccine aims to ‘teach’ the body how to make a specific protein that can hopefully help the immune system prevent certain diseases from occurring, or reduce its effects if the disease is caught.

Dr Jenny Longmore, Director of Research Operations at Norfolk and Norwich University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said:

“The CRF successfully recruited and dosed 31 healthy volunteers to the Odyssey trial. The NIHR’s Be Part of Research volunteer registry led to a valuable source of potential participants.”

Dr Effrossyni Gkrania-Klotsas, Clinical Director for the NIHR Clinical Research Network East of England, said:

"Our region welcomes the running of this ‘first in human’ trial, which recognises the need advance research that may help us prepare for the threat of future global influenza outbreaks.

“It is only through the volunteers taking part in these trials that we will make the breakthroughs we need, so thank you to all who enrol onto these studies."

Find out how you can take part in research by visiting