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4 June 2020

Sheffield Teaching Hospitals to play leading role in COVID-19 vaccine trial

Sheffield Teaching Hospitals is taking part in a major national research trial investigating how well a potential new vaccine could protect against COVID-19.

The pioneering study will assess how well a new vaccine developed by Oxford University, known as ChAdOx1 nCoV-19, can generate an effective immune response against COVID-19 in a wide range of people.

The trial, which is being run in partnership with the University of Sheffield and many of the health and social care organisations across the City, is aiming to recruit over 1,000 healthy volunteers who have a Sheffield postcode to take part in the research. Many of the volunteers work in frontline roles and are at higher risk of being exposed to COVID-19.

Dr Tom Darton, Honorary Consultant in Infectious Diseases at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals and Florey Advanced Clinical Fellow at the University of Sheffield explained:

“People taking part in the trial will be randomised to receive a single dose of either the ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 or a licensed meningitis vaccine (MenACWY) which will be used as a ‘control’ for comparison.

“Participants will only be able to find out if they received the ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 vaccine at the end of the trial. This is to ensure there is no bias during the trial, as people can act differently towards their health if they are aware of the vaccine they have received.

“The study will take up to a year to complete, with participants attending the clinic at the Royal Hallamshire up to eight times for assessment and blood tests to check their health and to look at their immune responses to the vaccine. Many of us working on this study have been caring for patients with COVID-19 since cases were first detected in the UK back in February, and so we are delighted to now be able to contribute to this crucial stage of vaccine development and disease prevention efforts. Our work builds on the ongoing efforts by the Trust and University, which has already provided new insights into the science, diagnosis and new therapeutics for those affected by the pandemic.”

Professor Simon Heller, Director of Research and Development at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We are delighted to be at the forefront of the national effort to test this potential new vaccine for COVID-19 in Sheffield. We have a long and proud history of developing and contributing to key clinical research and I am immensely proud of the teams here and at the University of Sheffield who have worked so hard to bring this hugely important research trial to Sheffield.”

For more information about the trial and how to get involved visit or email:

The Sheffield work is being supported by the Sheffield National Institute for Health Research’s Clinical Research Facility, which is based at the Royal Hallamshire and Northern General Hospitals.


Photo: The ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 vaccine (image courtesy of Sean Elias, the Jenner Institute, the University of Oxford)



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