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Hampshire continues search for COVID-19 vaccine

The search for COVID-19 vaccine is continuing in Hampshire, with the opening of a key vaccine trial in Southampton.

The trial, taking place in the county’s new research hub at the Royal South Hants (RSH) Hospital, will see the people of Hampshire come together with their NHS to find a way out of the coronavirus pandemic.

Over 300 Hampshire residents will take part, helping to test the safety and effectiveness of a new two-dose regimen for a vaccine candidate, developed by The Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson. The trial will recruit up to 30,000 people worldwide.

Volunteers from a variety of age groups and backgrounds, including some of the thousands who have registered to be contacted about vaccine studies through the NHS COVID-19 Vaccine Research Registry, will begin taking part. The trial will run at 17 National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) sites across the UK, of which Southampton is one.

With a range of vaccine types needed to ensure people across the UK have access to one that works for as many people as possible, researchers are calling for volunteers to continue to sign up to take part in clinical studies.

In particular, the NHS COVID-19 registry needs volunteers who are most vulnerable to the effects of coronavirus, including frontline health and social care workers and people from Black, Asian and ethnic minority backgrounds.

Professor Saul Faust, Director of the NIHR Clinical Research Network Wessex and Chief Investigator of the trial, said:

“Finding an effective vaccine with a good safety profile is a top priority in helping to protect us all more quickly against Covid-19.

“To help us make sure that any vaccine developed will work for everyone, we need people from all backgrounds, to take part in the trial.

“While the news of potential vaccines is tremendously exciting, it is only the first step in finding the best vaccines to use globally.

“All the vaccines that are being trialled work by generating immune responses to the same part of the coronavirus as the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines that have announced early results.

“Many vaccines are needed globally, and in the UK, to ensure the supply to the whole population and also to work out which vaccines work best alone, or in different combinations, to provide long lasting, safe protection.”

Recruitment into the trial will complete in March 2021 and the trial will last for 12 months.

Anyone living in the UK can sign up online to take part in COVID-19 vaccine trials through the NHS, giving permission for researchers to contact them about opportunities. 

Once signed up, people can withdraw at any time and request that their details be removed. The process takes about 5 minutes to complete. More information can be found: NHS.UK/coronavirus