NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde and the University of Glasgow are supporting the University of Oxford’s COVID-19 vaccine trials in health and care staff.
The collaboration is part of the University of Oxford’s Phase III of the trial, which involves assessing health and care staff living in Greater Glasgow and Clyde, who will be invited to take part in the trial if they are between 18-55 years old, healthy and have not been infected with COVID-19.
Frontline health, dental and care staff working in a COVID-19 clinical area such as Intensive Care Units, Emergency Departments, COVID-19 Wards, Community Assessment Centres, care homes and ambulance service are encouraged to apply. This also includes non-clinical staff such as those from portering and domestic services.
250 people will initially be recruited, with participants randomised to receive one or two doses of either the ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 vaccine or a licensed meningitis vaccine (MenACWY) that will be used as a ‘control’ for comparison.
Screening and vaccination of participants will begin in the next two weeks.
ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 is made from a virus (ChAdOx1), which is a weakened version of a common cold virus (adenovirus) that causes infections in chimpanzees, that has been genetically changed so that it is impossible for it to replicate in humans.
Participants will be involved in the trial for the next 12 months and will be supported by NHSGGC and University of Glasgow researchers throughout its duration.
The University of Oxford’s phase I trial of healthy adult volunteers began in April. More than 1,000 immunisations have been completed, and follow-up is currently ongoing.
Emma Thomson, Professor of Infectious Diseases at the MRC-University of Glasgow Centre for Virus Research and Consultant in Infectious Diseases at NHSGGC, said: “The University of Glasgow is extremely proud to be leading the phase II/III part of the University of Oxford COVID-19 vaccine trial in Glasgow in partnership with the NHS.
“An effective vaccine would be an important step forward in controlling the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic on a global scale. We will be working closely with colleagues at Oxford University to determine if the ChAdOx1 vaccine protects those who receive it from infection in a phase III clinical trial, following successful smaller phase I and II trials in Oxford.
“The vaccine will be tested initially in frontline healthcare staff in order to test the effectiveness and safety of immunisation in an at-risk group. Although we are at still at a very early stage, we remain hopeful that the information we gather will contribute to international efforts to secure a vaccine to protect those most vulnerable to infection.”
Julie Brittenden, Research and Development Director of NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, said: “Our staff have gone above and beyond to respond to COVID-19. We are proud to be at the forefront of research and development of COVID-19, as we take part in this vaccine trial alongside our other clinical trials. My thanks to the staff who choose to get involved in this exciting trial.”
Andrew Smith, Professor of Clinical Bacteriology at the University of Glasgow and Director of the Bacterial Respiratory Infection Service, Scottish Microbiology Reference Laboratory, NHSGGC, added: “The rapid roll-out of this clinical trial to find a vaccine for COVID-19 has been an unprecedented team effort working alongside co-workers at Glasgow Clinical Research Facility NHSGG&C, and we are super proud to be involved alongside colleagues at the University of Oxford, NHSGGC and across the UK.
“Although the point of this phase of the trial is to help us assess if healthy people can be protected from COVID-19, it will also give us valuable information on safety aspects of the vaccine and its ability to generate an immune response against the virus.”
Dr Jennifer Armstrong, Medical Director of NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde said:
“We’re proud to have NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde join the global effort in finding an effective vaccine for COVID-19. Our dedicated team of health and care staff have put patients first every step of the way as we responded to this virus. They now have an opportunity to get involved in research that will hopefully help patients, staff and society as a whole in future.”
Health Secretary Jeane Freeman said: “I am delighted that the Universities of Glasgow and Edinburgh along with NHS colleagues are taking part in the human safety trials for the development of a COVID-19 vaccine by Oxford University.
“Scotland has a long established reputation for medical research, and I would like to thank the research community across the country. The pace of work and the commitment of teams across Scotland has been outstanding and is testament to the world-class research infrastructure and expertise we have here.
“Of course, while the prospect of an effective vaccine developed here in the UK is exciting, there is no guarantee of success and we must continue to follow the guidelines set out by the Scottish Government to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and protect our NHS.”
The phase II/III parts of the study – involving NHS and institutions across the UK -- aims to assess how well people across a broad range of ages could be protected from COVID-19 with this new vaccine called ChAdOx1 nCoV-19. It will also provide valuable information on safety aspects of the vaccine and its ability to generate good immune responses against the virus.