500 volunteers from Greater Manchester and East Cheshire are being invited to participate in a phase three Covid-19 vaccine study, based at Stepping Hill Hospital in Stockport.
Stockport NHS Foundation Trust is among a number of sites carrying out the study, in cooperation with US-based Novavax and the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR). The study is the second phase three trial for a potential Covid-19 vaccine set to commence in the UK and will call up those who have signed up to the NHS Vaccine Registry to volunteer for trials in East Cheshire , Stockport and South Manchester.
500 volunteers are needed, with a total 10,000 from across the nation being sought.
The study will examine the effectiveness of a Covid-19 vaccine being developed by Novavax, across a broad range of people of various ages and backgrounds. Phase three studies involve many thousands of people, giving researchers insights into the effects of a vaccine on a much larger population than phase one and two studies.
The NHS Vaccine Registry was launched in July to help create a database of people who consent to be contacted by the NHS to take part in clinical studies, to help speed up the development of a safe and effective Covid-19 vaccine. More than 250,000 people nationally have now signed up, including 26,785 in the North West and 11,955 in Greater Manchester and East Cheshire. In order to best understand the effectiveness of the vaccine, the registry is continuing to look for volunteers from Black, Asian and other minority ethnic backgrounds, as well as those with underlying health conditions and the over-65s.
Professor Andrew Ustianowski, NIHR Clinical Research Network (CRN) national specialty lead for Infection and NIHR CRN Greater Manchester Deputy Clinical Director, said:
“This launch represents a landmark in the fight against COVID-19 and our Greater Manchester research community is proud to be contributing to this important vaccine study.
“We are really grateful to the thousands of people who have signed up to the vaccine registry so far. It is important we keep this up and that more people from across our range of Greater Manchester communities join the registry because we are going to need large numbers of volunteers to get involved in testing the vaccines.
“We need a really good mix of people of different ages and ethnicities, and people with and without existing health problems. This will help identify vaccines that work for everyone.”
Dr David Baxter, Principal Investigator for the trial at Stockport NHS Foundation Trust, said:
“COVID-19 has had a huge impact on our lives and we have seen many, many deaths with serious long-term illnesses in survivors. An effective and safe vaccine promises a more long lasting solution and we are really pleased to be part of this national study of Novavax.
“The vaccine has successfully passed phases I and II and this phase III study well answer the questions about its safety and effectiveness for all of us. It is vital we carry out this vaccine trial and we’re honoured to be involved.”
If any of the vaccines under investigation are successful in clinical studies, they could start to be delivered to the UK in 2021. It is expected that these vaccines would first be given to priority groups such as frontline health and social care workers, ethnic minorities, adults with underlying health conditions, and the elderly based on JCVI advice.
The UK public can support the national effort to speed up vaccine research and receive more information about volunteering for clinical studies by visiting the NHS website.