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Wessex recruits first global participant to vital MPox Vaccine Study

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Mpox (previously known as monkeypox) is still a major global health problem, causing dangerous illness in children and adults especially in resource-poor countries including in Africa in 2024.

The first participant to a new mRNAMpox Vaccine study has been recruited here in Wessex. The study is aimed at helping protect people from Mpox and will evaluate the safety and effectiveness of two newly developed vaccines, tested in humans for the first time.

The first participant recruited at the NIHR Southampton Clinical Research Facility is also the first participant recruited globally to the trial. Stephen M., a 36-year-old, IT professional from Southampton, tells us, ‘I'm entirely non-medical, so this is a great way of participating in something important. It's very rewarding to know that you might be contributing to advances in medicine and future breakthroughs.’

Participation in the trial spans across a twelve-month period and initially required Stephen to make regular initial visits to the NIHR facility in Southampton General Hospital for tests and the administration of the vaccine doses. Visits have now become much less frequent however as the team monitor Stephen’s progress.

Stephen is proud to be taking part in the study, ‘I hope I've played a small but useful role in showing the Monkeypox vaccine is safe and effective. It would be great if I was now slightly better protected (albeit I had a very small dose for the purposes of safety), but ultimately, I hope is that the vaccine is shown to be a safe and effective vaccine against the disease.’

Professor Saul Faust, lead investigator for the study in Southampton and Director of the NIHR Southampton Clinical Research Facility, said ‘Its only thanks to volunteers such as Stephen that new vaccines for COVID-19 and now Mpox will be found. Mpox is still a huge global health problem that could come back to the UK and richer countries, so having so many volunteers in Southampton willing to participate in trials of new vaccines and medicines is fantastic.'

Stephen would encourage everyone to #BePartofResearch: ‘My experience is entirely positive, and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend participating in clinical research.’