King’s College Hospital has recruited its first healthy volunteers to test the safety and efficacy of the new Novavax Covid-19 vaccine.
Sixty volunteers – some recruited through the NHS Vaccine Registry – have been dosed, either with the vaccine or a placebo, but more are needed.
Trial researchers are looking for healthy volunteers aged 18-84, who are in easy reach of the hospital, in Camberwell, to participate in the trial.
In particular, researchers are hoping to recruit 25 per cent of participants over the age of 65, as well as prioritising other groups that are most affected by Covid-19, including those from black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) backgrounds.
The Novavax vaccine is in phase three of the approvals process. It is the second trial vaccine in the UK to have reached this stage, the first being the Oxford vaccine.
Phase three trials are large-scale studies which focus on the vaccine’s effectiveness, with further checks on safety in a larger population.
This followed smaller studies – phases one and two – which reported positive results, and which focused on safety and whether there were signs the vaccine could work.
The trial, which is supported by the National Institute of Health Research (NIHR), is a randomised-controlled trial, meaning one group of participants will receive two doses of the experimental vaccine three weeks apart, while the other will receive a dummy ‘placebo’ vaccine.
Some people may also receive the seasonal flu vaccine at the same time to test how the vaccines work in conjunction with each other.
Participants are required to complete six visits to the NIHR/Wellcome Trust Clinical Research Facility at King’s over the course of 13 months.
Dr James Galloway, who is leading on the trial at King’s, said, “One of the most effective ways we can defeat coronavirus is by finding a safe, successful vaccine as quickly as possible, so that our lives can start returning to normal.
“Clinical trials such as this are a key step in the process.
“This vaccine has successfully gone through early safety trials and results to date are very encouraging.
“We’re looking for 160 volunteers from our local community to help us measure how effective the vaccine is in stimulating the immune system to protect against Covid-19.”
For more information or to register an interest in participating in the trial click here.
Pictured top: More volunteers are needed by King’s College Hospital
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