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Latest COVID-19 vaccine study in the UK launches in south London

Latest COVID-19 vaccine study in the UK launches in south London

The latest COVID-19 vaccine study in the UK opened in south London today at King’s Clinical Research Facility, part of King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust.

Medicago, a biopharmaceutical company based in Canada, and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) are launching the Phase 3 randomised, observer blinded, placebo-controlled study. The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR)-supported study, run at the King’s Clinical Research Facility, is the first to test a plant-derived COVID-19 vaccine candidate, and will evaluate the efficacy and safety of the Coronavirus-Like Particle COVID-19 Vaccine (CoVLP).

A total of 1,500 volunteers will be recruited to the study within the UK, and each will receive an active study vaccine dose as part of the trial’s blinded crossover design. Healthy adults between the ages of 18 to 39-years-old will be asked to take part in the study, which will look to recruit over the course of the next four to six weeks.

Participants will receive two doses of the experimental vaccine and two doses of a placebo. For both rounds of vaccinations, each two injections will be given 21 days apart. Those who receive the CoVLP vaccine in Period 1 will receive the placebo in Period 2, while participants who receive the placebo in Period 1 will receive the experimental vaccine in Period 2. Study participants will then be followed up for safety and immunogenicity for a period of 12 months after their last vaccination.

Several NIHR sites, and sites across Scotland and Wales, will run the Medicago vaccine study, in addition to multiple sites in the United States, Canada, Europe and Latin America.

A proportion of the volunteers involved in the trial will be identified through the NHS COVID-19 Vaccine Research Registry, which has over 470,000 people signed up giving their permission to be contacted about taking part in vaccine research and more volunteers are still needed.

Dr Chrissie Jones, Associate Professor in Paediatric Infectious Diseases at University of Southampton, and Chief Investigator for the study, said:

"Clinical trials of COVID-19 vaccines are still needed in the UK to ensure that we have access to a range of different vaccines which are safe and effective. The Medicago COVID-19 vaccine candidate is developed within plants which produce non-infectious versions of the virus.”

Dr James Galloway, Principal Investigator of the study at King’s Clinical Research Facility, said:

“Medicago have an interesting vaccine, which is plant-derived and scalable, with promising early phase data.

“It has been an incredible few months working on the vaccine trials. However, we know there is still a way to go, and we need more vaccines at our disposal.”

People wishing to volunteer to support clinical trials can sign up for information on COVID-19 vaccine trials with the NHS COVID-19 Vaccine Research Registry