New vaccine trial at Northwick Park Hospital seeks volunteers

Northwick Park Hospital

Northwick Park Hospital - Credit: Archant

Volunteers are needed for a new plant-based Covid vaccine to be trialled at Northwick Park Hospital.

Medicago, a biopharmaceutical company based in Canada, and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) are launching the Phase 3 "randomised, observer blinded, placebo-controlled study" at the London North West University Healthcare NHS Trust (LNWUH).

The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR)-supported study is the first to test a plant-derived Covid-19 vaccine candidate, and will evaluate the efficacy and safety of the Coronavirus-Like Particle COVID-19 Vaccine (CoVLP).

Over the next four to six weeks the group are looking for 1,500 healthy volunteers aged between 18 and 39 who will receive an active study vaccine dose.

Participants will receive two doses of the experimental vaccine and two doses of a placebo.

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For both rounds of vaccinations, each two injections will be given 21 days apart.

Those who receive the CoVLP vaccine in Period 1 will receive the placebo in Period 2, while participants who receive the placebo in Period 1 will receive the experimental vaccine in Period 2.

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They will then be followed up for safety and immunogenicity for a period of a year after their last vaccination.

Dr Chrissie Jones, associate professor in Paediatric Infectious Diseases at University of Southampton, and chief investigator for the study said: "Clinical trials of COVID-19 vaccines are still needed in the UK to ensure that we have access to a range of different vaccines which are safe and effective.

"The Medicago COVID-19 vaccine candidate is unique in that it is developed within plants which produce non-infectious versions of the virus.”

Saddaf Shaheen, assistant director R&D at LNWUH, said: “Our team are very pleased to be collaborating on another extremely important study which will enable us to assess if healthy people can be protected from Covid-19 with this new vaccine.

“It will give us valuable information on the safety of the vaccine and its ability to generate good immune responses against the virus.

“Participants in the trial will play a crucial role in the global search for a further vaccine that protects us all from Covid-19.”

People wishing to volunteer should visit the NHS Covid-19 vaccine research registry, developed in partnership with NHS Digital. 

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