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16 November 2020

Sheffield to play leading role in new Covid-19 candidate vaccine study

Six thousand UK volunteers, including 330 to be recruited from Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, will be called upon to join another leading phase three Covid-19 vaccine study, as researchers around the world continue to work to secure a range of vaccines to help tackle coronavirus.

The latest study, co-funded by the UK government’s Vaccine Taskforce, will test the safety and effectiveness of a new two-dose regimen for a vaccine candidate, developed by The Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson. The study will recruit up to 30,000 people worldwide.

Volunteers from a variety of age groups and backgrounds, including some of the thousands who have registered to be contacted about vaccine studies through the NHS Covid-19 Vaccine Research Registry, will begin taking part in the latest study at 17 National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) sites across the UK, including at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals. Recruitment into the study will complete in March 2021 and the study will last for 12 months.

To date, over 300,000 people have signed up to the NHS Covid-19 Vaccines Research Registry to take part in vital coronavirus vaccine studies. With a range of vaccine types needed to ensure people across the UK have access to one that works for as many people as possible, researchers are calling for volunteers to continue to sign up to take part in clinical studies.

With several more phase 3 studies for potential vaccine studies expected to start over the next six months, researchers are highlighting the need for volunteers from across the UK to continue to join the fight against coronavirus. In particular the NHS Covid-19 registry needs volunteers who are most vulnerable to the effects of coronavirus, including frontline health and social care workers and people from Black, Asian and ethnic minority backgrounds.

The UK government has developed a portfolio of six different vaccine candidates and secured access to 350 million doses to date. Of this, an agreement has been made in principle to include 30 million doses of the Janssen vaccine will be made available to the UK if it is safe and effective.

Researchers from Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, which is the only NHS Trust in the Yorkshire and Humber taking part in the Janssen candidate Covid-19 study, aim to recruit around 330 people into the study from the region. Initial recruitment will be open to people in the younger age bracket, aged between 18 and 55.

Professor Simon Heller, Director of Research and Development at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We are delighted to be playing a leading role in this important study. Trialling a selection of multiple vaccine candidates in parallel is a crucial step in accelerating global scientific efforts to find a safe and effective Covid-19 vaccine. It is only through the help of people taking part in vaccine trials that we can learn more about how this terrible virus can be prevented.”

Professor Alistair Hall, Clinical Director of the NIHR Clinical Research Network Yorkshire and Humber said:
"The people of Yorkshire and Humber have offered their strong support to the vaccine research studies already underway. This level of enthusiasm is inspiring and makes the region fully engaged in finding an effective solution to current health, economic and social challenges. I wish to express my sincere appreciation to all concerned."

Chair of the Government’s Vaccine Taskforce, Kate Bingham said: “The recent news about progress on the search for a vaccine is enormously exciting for the whole world, but we must not take our focus off continuing the important research to work out which vaccines work best for different people to provide long lasting, effective protection against Covid-19.

“Many vaccines are needed both here in the UK, and globally, to ensure we can provide a safe and effective vaccine for the whole population. That is why the launch of this trial to establish the safety, effectiveness, and very importantly the durability, of the Janssen vaccine is so significant, and I would continue to encourage people to sign up and take part in vaccine trials.

By co-funding this study we are helping generate data for future regulatory submissions internationally as well as for the UK."

The UK public can support the national effort to speed up vaccine research and receive more information about volunteering for clinical studies by visiting to join the NHS Covid-19 Vaccine Research Registry.

The Registry was launched by the government in partnership with the NIHR, NHS Digital, the Scottish and Welsh governments and the Northern Ireland Executive in July. It aims 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 vaccine.


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