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Exeter residents take part in new Covid-19 vaccine trial thanks to local Patient Recruitment Centre

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Residents of Exeter have joined the world’s first participants to take part in the new Novavax Covid-19 vaccine trial thanks to the recently established NIHR Patient Recruitment Centre: Exeter.

In collaboration with the UK Government’s Vaccines Taskforce, Novavax, a US-based biotechnology firm has launched a Phase 3 clinical trial of a potential Covid-19 vaccine in the UK. The Novavax trial is investigating the safety and effectiveness of the ‘NVX-CoV2373’ vaccine and it aims to recruit up to 10,000 participants aged 18 to 84 years over the next few weeks.

A parallel study is due to commence in the USA later this year, but thanks to the advanced research infrastructure already in place within the UK , including the NIHR’s Patient Recruitment Centres and the NHS Vaccine Research registry, the study was able to open in the UK first.

The establishment of the Patient Recruitment Centre: Exeter at Royal Devon & Exeter NHS Foundation Trust earlier this year has allowed Exeter residents to be amongst the first people in the world to be able to contribute to this trial which could have global importance in dealing with the covid-19 pandemic.

What is it like to take part in the Novavax trial in Exeter?
We contacted three research participants to find out why they decided to take part in the Novavax trial and what the experience was like for them:

“From the moment I sent the email to my first vaccination everybody involved was fantastic.  Even the physical examination and drawing of blood was as painless as they could make it and the study personnel reassured me and informed me on everything they did all the way.

“This is for a good cause and I will encourage you to get enrolled in this study.”

“On arrival, all were welcoming and everything was very clearly explained to ensure I fully understood the trial. The swab, blood test and injection were all painless and administered with the care we uniquely get from our NHS. The risks were all explained, but really we are not being asked to do anything more risky than the jabs we all get to go on our holidays – remember those?  All that is being asked of the participants is a little bit of their time, a tiny contribution compared to what many have done and, hopefully, the beginning of the end.​”

“While the staff looked after me to ensure that I did not have an unexpected reaction to the injection, I was instructed how to download the study symptoms tracker application. This all worked fine, even on my clunky old smartphone. I was given a ‘party-bag’ of things to take home with me, including a digital thermometer, swab sampling kits, and phone numbers to call if I need any help with anything throughout the duration of the study. Obviously, I hope that I don’t get any symptoms, but I am reassured that I have a lot of people looking after my health and well-being over the next year.

“I am so proud to be part of this study. I feel that I am finally able to take part in our global community’s fight back against the virus. Best wishes to the RD&E Hospital research team. It has been great to meet you and work with you in this study.”

Patient Recruitment Centres
The NIHR Patient Recruitment Centre (PRC): Exeter is one of five regionally based centres, announced this year, dedicated to setting up and delivering large scale, late-phase commercial clinical trials across the NHS. They are purpose-designed to improve the speed and consistency with which commercial research is delivered across the country. The PRCs are expected to play a key role in helping people across England to take part in vital Covid-19 vaccine trials over the coming months.

Gregory M. Glenn, M.D., President of Research & Development from Novavax said:

“When the UK Government approached us earlier this year about our work and conducting a phase 3 trial, we were quite interested. The NIHR trial network is excellent in terms of both the infrastructure and the investigators themselves. In addition, the clear communication with MHRA laid out expectations with respect to trial requirements. At this point, early enrolment success in the sites at Blackpool, Bradford, Exeter and other sites is very encouraging and while the COVID-19 resurgence is unfortunate, it should help us answer the fundamental questions around efficacy in a very rapid manner.”

How to find out more or take part in a trial:
If you’re interested in finding out more or being contacted about this and other covid-19 vaccine research, you can now sign up to the NHS Covid-19 Vaccine Registry. By signing up you’ll be contacted with information about any trials you would be eligible to take part in.

If you have any questions relating specifically to the Novavax trial at PRC: Exeter you can contact the study team directly at:

Discover more local research news:
All News Stories from PRC: Exeter
All News Stories from the South West Peninsula region

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