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Volunteers needed for mpox vaccine study in Oxford

Volunteers are being asked to join a study in Oxford looking at the effectiveness of an investigational vaccine for mpox, previously known as Monkeypox.

This important study is taking place at the University of Oxford’s Jenner Institute at the Churchill Hospital and is supported by the National Institute for Health and Care Research and sponsored by Moderna. The study, which is being led from Bristol, is the first study that Moderna is running entirely in the UK.

Since 2022, there has been an increased transmission of mpox identified in the UK. Common symptoms of the mpox virus include a rash, fever, chills, muscle aches, swollen lymph nodes, and sore throat. In the UK and Europe there is currently only one vaccine licensed for immunisation against mpox.

Dr Paola Cicconi, Principal Investigator at the Jenner Institute in Oxford, said: “After the success of our COVID-19 and malaria programmes, the Jenner Institute clinical team is proud to contribute to the collective effort against mpox with dedication, expertise and the incredible support of the Oxford volunteers.”

Dr Rajeka Lazarus, National Co-ordinating Investigator for the study, said: “Mpox is a global public health threat, and more vaccines are urgently needed to prevent future outbreaks.

“Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, we were overwhelmed with the generosity of volunteers who came forward to take part in a number of vaccine trials. Without them, the advances we’ve seen would not have been possible. It would be fantastic to see the same support for mpox research.”

Volunteers aged between 18 and 49 years old will be randomly selected to either receive 1 of 3 dose levels of the investigational mpox vaccine, or a placebo.

Among those taking part is Lucy Radford, 37, of Cowley, Oxford who found out about the study via a mailing list about clinical trials seeking volunteers in the city.

Lucy, who previously took part in a vaccine trial into respiratory syncytial virus, which causes coughs and colds, said: “I find the process really interesting and it feels a way I can contribute further, it is a way to do something to help others.”

Lucy, a research facilitator in biodiversity conservation at the University of Oxford, said: “The trial is convenient for me as I live a 10-minute cycle away. The commitment seemed do-able and it sounded like a good trial to be involved in.”

An investigational vaccine means it has not been approved by any of the regulatory agencies in the world, including the United Kingdom (UK) regulatory body, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Authority (MHRA).

The study is taking place at multiple research sites across England.

Health and care research can only improve and save lives with the help of volunteers. To find out more about participating in this study, visit the trial website.

The study is also using the Be Part of Research volunteer registry to find suitable participants. The first UK-wide registry for all health and care specialties, it makes finding and taking part in research easier than ever. It also helps researchers and sponsors recruit more quickly and effectively.

People interested in taking part in health and care research can register their details and will be sent information on studies taking place near them.