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Sign-up to Help Test Cutting-Edge Covid Vaccine

Published on: 11 May, 2021
Updated on: 14 May, 2021

Volunteers from the Kent, Surrey and Sussex area are being asked to sign up to the latest Covid-19 vaccine study to be rolled out across the UK.

The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR)-supported Valneva Phase 2/3 study will be run at Guildford, Surrey, jointly hosted by Royal Surrey NHS Foundation Trust and the University of Surrey. Healthy adults who have not had a Covid-19 vaccine are sought.

Four thousand participants will be recruited across the UK, and everyone involved in the study will receive two active vaccine doses, administered in a four-week interval.

Those aged over 30 will be randomised to receive two doses of either the Valneva vaccine, or the approved Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine. Participants aged 18 to 29 can be enrolled to receive the Valneva vaccine and will not be offered the AstraZeneca.

Valvena, developed and made by the namesake speciality vaccine company site in Livingston, West Lothian, is the only inactivated, adjuvanted (an ingredient to create a stronger immune response) Covid-19 vaccine in Europe.

Volunteers will be vaccinated at the beginning of May, and a proportion of potential participants will be identified through the NHS Covid-19 Vaccine Research Registry, which has more than 480,000 sign-ups.

Subject to successful Phase 2/3 data, Valneva aims to make regulatory submissions for initial approval in the autumn of 2021.

If their vaccine is shown to be safe and effective, up to 250 million vaccine doses could be supplied to the UK and other countries. As part of the UK government’s vaccine procurement approach, up to 100 million doses of this vaccine have been secured.

To register interest in vaccine studies and sign up to be contacted by researchers, people can visit the NHS Covid-19 Vaccine Research Registry (www.nhs.uk/researchcontact).

Guildford’s university and hospital have had a longstanding relationship involving research advancing the use of immunotherapy in treating cancer. Researchers from both and other institutions, are developing culturally relevant health messages for ethnic minority groups to help reduce the transmission of the virus, raise awareness of their susceptibility and enhance participation in the national vaccination programme.

Dr Hana Hassanin is principal investigator for the Royal Surrey and the university site and medical director of Surrey Clinical Research Facility at the university.

He said: “Although there are a number of vaccines now available it is important that the scientific and medical community continue to develop and trial new inoculations.

“We have seen a one-size-fits-all approach does not apply to vaccinations. A variety of proven vaccines will also help protect countries from supply, or other issues that may mean one vaccine becomes difficult to manufacture or distribute.

“Volunteers in the Kent, Surrey, Sussex region are still needed to help out these studies. Visit nhs.uk/researchcontact to sign up to be contacted about Covid-19 vaccine studies.

“I am delighted the university and hospital are collaborating to become a study site for this vaccine. Collaboration is key in helping to tackle the threat of Covid-19 and this trial will be a springboard for strengthened collaboration between our two organisations.”

Professor Andrew Ustianowski, national clinical lead for the UK NIHR Covid Vaccine Research Programme, said: “Off the back of positive early study data, it is great to see the final stage of the Valneva study begin.

“Evaluating an additional vaccine candidate to help protect the population against COVID-19 is vital in our efforts to ensure we have effective vaccines that work for everybody.

“Each and every one of the participants involved in the study is key to helping us gain a detailed understanding of how the vaccine will perform in a large population.

“People are still needed from all backgrounds in this and future vaccine studies. Signing up to be contacted is simple via the NHS Vaccine Research Registry.”

Thomas Lingelbach, chief executive officer of Valneva, said: “As Covid-19 continues to impact people’s daily lives, Valneva remains fully focused on developing another safe and efficacious vaccine solution.

“The world needs multiple vaccines and we believe ours has an important role to play, including boosters or potential modifications to address variants.

“The initiation of this trial marks a significant milestone in the development of the only inactivated vaccine candidate against Covid-19 in clinical trials in Europe. We are grateful to the NIHR for its continued support and to everyone who volunteers to make clinical trials possible.”

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