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23 November 2020

Sheffield Teaching Hospitals chosen to lead major Covid-19 vaccine trial

Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust is one of 17 sites across the country, and the only one in the Yorkshire and Humber, to have been selected to trial the latest Covid-19 candidate vaccine.

Researchers from the Trust will be calling on 330 people, some from the NHS Covid-19 Research Vaccines Registry, to take part in the large scale study which will recruit up to 30,000 people worldwide.

The Phase 3 study is being co-funded by the UK government’s Vaccine Taskforce and 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 project will see volunteers receive two injections of the trial vaccine within a two-month period. No one taking part in this study will be disadvantaged when a Covid-19 vaccine is approved and rolled out for general use.

The study will be open to anyone aged 18 or over living in the Sheffield and South Yorkshire area, irrespective of whether they have had Covid-19 or not. To fast-track the recruitment process, automatic updates will be sent to anyone in the area who has registered their interest in taking part in coronavirus vaccine studies via the NHS Covid-19 Research Vaccines Registry once the study has opened.

The team of researchers will also look to use existing Registry data to identify those interested in potentially taking part.

However, recruitment will not be purely confined to those on the Registry, and the researchers are keen to hear from volunteers aged 18 or over who have other medical problems, are taking other medications, or who may not have English as their first language.

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. We encourage anyone with an interest in helping to sign up to the NHS Covid-19 Research Vaccines Registry as this is a useful way for us to speed up the recruitment process. Alternatively please keep a look out for the forthcoming advertising material over the coming weeks.”

The Janssen coronavirus vaccine is the third to be trialled in the UK, along with the Oxford/AstraZeneca candidate, and one from US biotech company Novavax.

For more information about coronavirus vaccine studies and the NHS Covid-19 Research Vaccines Registry visit

The Sheffield trial will be led by Dr Tom Darton, Honorary Consultant in Infectious Diseases at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals and Florey Advanced Clinical Fellow at the University of Sheffield.


Photo: Professor Simon Heller



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