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University of Surrey to Trial Covid-19 Vaccine From Imperial College London

Published on: 1 Aug, 2020
Updated on: 5 Aug, 2020

The University of Surrey is among the investigation sites in a clinical trial for a new Covid-19 vaccine. Developed by Imperial College London, the vaccine is in the first phase of human testing. The next phase involves actual human testing at sites across the country, including Surrey.

The team at Surrey, led by Dr Hana Hassanin, is recruiting 40 volunteers aged between 18-75 years old. Volunteers will have two doses of the vaccine, an initial one and a booster four weeks later.

Professor Simon Skene, from the University of Surrey, said: “Trialling vaccines in humans is an essential step in our fight against viruses such as Covid-19 and I am thrilled our team is contributing. This new vaccine has undergone extensive pre-clinical testing and produced encouraging signs of immune response in animals. Volunteers are key in making research such as this possible and I would encourage anyone who is interested to get in touch.”

Unlike many traditional vaccines based on a weakened or modified form of the virus, this novel vaccine uses synthetic strands of genetic code (called self-amplifying RNA, or saRNA), based on the SARS CoV-2 virus’s genetic material. Once injected into the muscle, the RNA self-amplifies and instructs the body’s own cells to make copies of the spiky protein (S-glycoprotein) found on the outside of the virus.

Coronaviruses use spike proteins to gain entry into cells to infect them, and these proteins are the main target of antibodies. Using this novel vaccine type should elicit an immune response to the S protein so the body can easily recognise it and defend itself against Covid-19 in case of future infection.

Professor David Sampson, vice-provost, Research and Innovation at Surrey, said: “I am delighted we are joining the global effort to find a vaccine against Covid-19. With more than 600,000 deaths worldwide that we find a vaccine to stop the spread of this deadly virus is crucial. We are proud to be demonstrating once again the enormous impact research at universities plays in tackling the greatest challenges faced by global society.”

Surrey resident Professor Robin Shattock, who is leading the development of the vaccine at Imperial College London, said: “The early results from pre-clinical data have been promising, and the expansion of our trial to additional centres will provide further data on the safety of the vaccine, and the immune response.”

If you are interested in helping, register at or contact the recruitment team directly on 0800 269847 or

For full details of Imperial’s Covid-19 vaccine, visit the Imperial Covid-19 Vaccine Trial website

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Responses to University of Surrey to Trial Covid-19 Vaccine From Imperial College London

  1. Sara Tokunaga Reply

    August 2, 2020 at 3:56 pm

    Southampton University are paying volunteers £550 to be part of this research. If the University of Surrey has any problem getting volunteers it needs to offer the same incentive. I am sure they will be flooded with applicants once the news is out.

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