Imperial College London has joined an Oxford-led clinical trial as a key site to begin testing a vaccine against COVID-19.
Trials will be conducted at multiple centres across the UK, including Oxford, Southampton, Bristol and London and are expected to run for the next six months.
As part of the study, Imperial will be one of several sites carrying out trials of the vaccine and Imperial College NHS Trust is currently recruiting healthy volunteers to participate.
The work will enable researchers to assess if healthy people can be protected from COVID-19 with the new vaccine, called ChAdOx1 nCoV-19.
It will also provide valuable information on safety aspects of the vaccine and its ability to generate good immune responses against the virus.
The team will do this by randomly allocating participants to receive the COVID-19 vaccine or a control injection in addition to doing blood tests and collecting information about any symptoms that occur after vaccination.
Dr Katrina Pollock , Clinical Research Fellow in Vaccinology, who will be leading the work at Imperial’s Hammersmith campus, said: “This is the first-in human trial for this candidate vaccine and an important step towards developing a safe and effective vaccine against the novel coronavirus. Our clinical team is excited to begin trials this week as a key centre in this landmark study to combat COVID-19.”
Dr David Owen, Head of Clinical Studies at the NIHR Imperial Clinical Research Facility, said: “The vaccine team at the NIHR ICRF has started this project in record time. We are delighted to be able to support Dr Pollock in delivering this extremely important trial.”
In addition to this work, Professor Robin Shattock at Imperial College London is leading on developing a different vaccine , which will be tested in human trials beginning in June, also at the NIHR Imperial Clinical Research Facility.
The team at the ICRF will soon begin screening participants for the trial of Professor Shattock’s vaccine; members of the public can register their interest by signing up via the NIHR Imperial CRF Healthy Volunteers database.
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