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North East and North Cumbria Volunteers to Participate in Novavax COVID-19 Vaccine Study

North East and North Cumbria Volunteers to Participate in Novavax COVID-19 Vaccine Study

Volunteers from the North East and North Cumbria will be invited to join a leading phase three COVID-19 vaccine study, as the number of people signed up to take part in vaccine research has reached over 250,000 nationally.

The study will test the safety and effectiveness of a promising new vaccine, developed by US biotechnology company Novavax, across a broad spectrum of people, including those from a variety age groups and backgrounds within the region. Phase 3 studies involve many thousands of people, giving researchers insights into the effects of a vaccine on a much larger population than phase 1 and 2 studies.

The national trial run regionally from University Hospital of Hartlepool, part of North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust, will be the second COVID-19 vaccine study to be delivered within the region. It is a truly collaborative approach to delivering a vaccine study, as it will be staffed by medical and research colleagues from the three acute trusts in the Durham Tees Valley.

Calling on some of the thousands of volunteers who have joined the fight against COVID-19 through the NHS Vaccine Registry, the phase three trial is the second to commence in the UK and will be undertaken at a number of National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) regional sites across the UK, including the North East, Lancashire, the Midlands, Greater Manchester, London, Glasgow and Belfast.

The Registry was launched in July to help create a database of people who consent to be contacted by the NHS to take part in clinical studies, to help speed up the development of a safe and effective vaccine.

The government has secured 60 million doses of the Novavax vaccine for the UK, which will be manufactured using FUJIFILM Diosynth Biotechnologies’s facilities in Billingham, Stockton-on-Tees. This will ensure that, once approved by regulators, the vaccine can be supplied as quickly as possible.

With several more studies for potential vaccine candidates expected to start before the end of the year, UK researchers are calling for additional volunteers to sign up to take part in research. To better understand the effectiveness of vaccine candidates and help find a vaccine that works for as many people as soon as possible, researchers are particularly seeking more volunteers from Black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds as well as those with underlying health conditions and the over 65s.

Professor Caroline Wroe, Clinical Director, NIHR Clinical Research Network North East and North Cumbria, said:

“It's fantastic news that people in our region will have the opportunity to take part in these trials and help the NHS find the best vaccine to protect us against COVID-19. It’s a tribute to the quality of health sciences in this region that ground-breaking vaccines are being both produced and studied here.”

Justin Carter, Research & Development Director at North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust, said:
“We are proud that the three acute hospital Trusts in our region are coming together to provide our patients with the chance to take part in vital COVID vaccine research, which is the next step in our fight against this disease.”

Dr David Chadwick, Infectious Diseases Consultant and study lead at South Tees Hospitals Foundation Trust, said:
“We’re delighted to be able to run this trial in the region and contribute to the wider effort to find a safe and effective COVID vaccine”.

The UK public can support the national effort to speed up vaccine research and receive more information about volunteering for clinical studies by visiting www.nhs.uk/researchcontact.