Thursday, 26 Nov 2020

Coronavirus vaccine trials: Can I sign up to test COVID vaccine?

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The news of vaccines being almost ready for use has given millions in the UK itchy feet, as the prospect of normal life edges ever closer. A vaccine has long been seen as the only viable route out of the pandemic, which has now killed more than a million people worldwide, and more than 50,000 people across the UK alone.

The Pfizer vaccine is the closest to being completed, with the hope now being it could be rolled out early in 2021.

Results have confidently suggested the virus is 90 percent effective against the deadly COVID-19.

The NHS is now gearing up for mass inoculation across the UK, starting with the most vulnerable in society.

Despite this, there are still a number of different vaccines in development, and now the public is being urged to take part in a new clinical trial for a vaccine developed by pharmaceutical giant Janssen.

Some 25,000 people across the UK have now taken part in clinical trials, and more than 300,000 have indicated a desire to take part in studies, according to the NHS.

Scientists have warned the country could rely on one jab to serve its whole population.

The UK Government has ordered six different vaccines and has access to some 350 million doses in total.

Included in the count are 40 million doses of the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine, as well as 100 million doses from Astra Zeneca, and 60 million doses of a vaccine by Janssen.

Can I still sign up to volunteer? How do I sign up?

Janssen has not yet confirmed how volunteers can sign up for the trials. has contacted Janssen for more information.

Researchers are looking for 6,000 new volunteers at 17 sites across the country.

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These include Southampton, Bristol, Cardiff, London, Leicester, Sheffield, Manchester, Dundee and Belfast.

Recruitment into the study will complete in March 2021 and the trial will last for 12 months.

Saul Faust, professor of paediatric immunology and infectious diseases at the University of Southampton and University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust, said it was important that several different types of vaccine were developed to get the best shot at immunity across the population.

He said: “We just don’t know how each of these vaccines is going to behave and which are going to generate the better short and long-term immunity.

“And we can’t be certain that vaccine supply will be efficient and effective and secure from any one manufacturer, wherever it’s being made in the world.”

He added: “It is going to be some time before the bulk of the population receive a coronavirus vaccine just because of the technical difficulties of manufacturing, achieving the number of vaccines in the UK, and then deployment in that many people.”

Kate Bingham, chairwoman of the UK’s Vaccine Taskforce, 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.”

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