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Former Clinical Research Network CEO Jonathan Sheffield OBE Takes Part in Coronavirus Vaccine Study in Leeds

Jonathan Sheffield, member of the COVID-19 Therapeutics Taskforce, Department of Health and Social Care, took part this week in a COVID-19 vaccine study testing the effectiveness of a candidate developed by US biotechnology company Novavax.

The study is the world’s first phase three COVID-19 vaccine study to test the effectiveness of the new Novavax COVID-19 vaccine, and is recruiting healthy volunteers aged 18-84 across the UK.

Half of volunteers in the study will be given two injections of the vaccine candidate, 21 days apart, while the remaining participants will receive a placebo. Volunteers will not know whether they have received the vaccine or the placebo.

“I’m always a great believer that you can’t just stand on the sidelines,” Jonathan said. “You need to get involved in the game and as I am an ideal candidate to be in a study, I put myself on the vaccine registry and I’m really grateful to have the opportunity to participate in it.”

The study is recruiting participants from the NHS COVID-19 Vaccine Research Registry, which has already seen over 28,000 people across Yorkshire and Humber volunteer to take part in coronavirus vaccine studies.

The Novavax study is currently running at over 20 sites across the UK, including at University of Leeds’ The Edge sports hall, where Jonathan is a participant.

“I thought it was incredibly well run and incredibly engaging,” Jonathan said. “The staff were amazingly helpful and explained everything very clearly. I came away thinking that I was really proud of all the effort that the people within the NIHR and the NHS are making in terms of delivering this study.“

In order to ensure that Novavax and other vaccine candidates being trialled in the UK are as effective as possible, for as many people as possible, researchers are calling on more people to sign up to take part in studies. Jonathan agrees that the studies are a key part of the fight against coronavirus:

“From my point of view vaccines are something that we really need to get on top of in terms of COVID-19 and how we get ourselves out of the situation that we’re in at the moment.

“[vaccine studies] will help enormously in the fight against coronavirus and allow us to get back to normal lives, so the sooner we get the research completed, the sooner we get to have answers about what the appropriate treatments are."

To find out more about COVID-19 Vaccines and to register visit