Recruitment has begun at three leading Cambridgeshire NHS Trusts for volunteers to take part in the nationwide COVID-19 vaccine trial.

Developing an effective vaccine is key to controlling the COVID-19 pandemic

Estee Torok

The COV002 trial, developed by the University of Oxford, aims to assess how well people across a broad range of ages could be protected from COVID-19 using a new vaccine called ChAdOx1 nCoV-19. It will also provide valuable information on safety of the vaccine and its ability to generate good immune responses against the virus.

Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust (CPFT), Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and Royal Papworth Hospital NHS Foundation Trust are recruiting healthy staff aged between 18-55 years old who have not been infected with coronavirus but have regular face-to-face contact with COVID-19 patients, to take part in the trial.

Eligible participants will be randomised to receive one dose of either the trial vaccine (ChAdOx1 nCoV-19) or a licensed meningitis vaccine (MenACWY) that will be used as a ‘control’ for comparison. Following vaccination, participants will be followed up over 12 months.

Dr Estée Török from the Department of Medicine at the University of Cambridge and Principal Investigator at Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Developing an effective vaccine is key to controlling the COVID-19 pandemic. We are delighted to be working with CPFT and Royal Papworth on this UK national priority vaccine trial. We are looking for healthy volunteers at high risk of COVID-19 infection at CUH to participate in this study and are most grateful to them for doing so.”

Dr Ben Underwood, Deputy Medical Director and Principal Investigator (study lead) at CPFT said: “We are grateful to all our staff for their brilliant response to the coronavirus pandemic.  Our research teams are playing a vital role in international efforts to secure a vaccine, which we hope will protect those most at risk, save more lives and minimise the disruption caused by the virus. Thank you to all volunteers who take part and make clinical trials possible.”

Dr Robert Rintoul, Director, Papworth Trials Unit Collaboration, and Reader in Thoracic Oncology at the Department of Oncology, University of Cambridge, said: “We at Royal Papworth Hospital are proud to be supporting research into possible vaccines and treatments for COVID-19. I would like to thank our staff members who have chosen to participate in this important public health project.”

Adapted from a press release by Cambridge University Health Partners.

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