Hundreds of Fife volunteers needed for COVID vaccine test in Dundee

Hundreds of Fifers are needed to volunteer for a COVID-19 vaccine trial.

It is being led by the University of Dundee and NHS Tayside, and covers the Kingdom as well as Dundee.

The organisations are set to launch a second clinical trial of a vaccine candidate developed by Janssen Pharmaceuticals, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson.

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Researchers want 400 members of the public to volunteer for the study.

Professor Jacob George, University of Dundee’s School of Medicine
Professor Jacob George, University of Dundee’s School of Medicine

It will involve participants receiving two injections of the trial vaccine within a two-month period. If successful, the vaccine could play a pivotal role in reducing Covid-19 rates around the world.

Professor Jacob George from the University of Dundee’s School of Medicine and research and development director for NHS Tayside, said, “While there has been some encouraging news about the development of a vaccine, it is widely acknowledged that we will need multiple vaccines if we are to bring this virus under control.

“This trial is critically important and we are calling on people across Tayside and Fife to help us to potentially bring an end to this pandemic.”

Volunteers will get two injections of the trial vaccine, separated by a gap of 57 days.

COVID vaccine

They will take place at the Clinical Research Centre (CRC), located at Dundee’s Ninewells Hospital.

Follow-up visits will either be at the Ninewells CRC or the Victoria Hospital in Kirkcaldy.

After their first injection, volunteers will be asked to complete a daily diary via a mobile phone app, monitoring their response to the trial vaccine.

Researchers want a representative sample from the entire population - but women who are pregnant or aiming to become pregnant in the next ten months, as well as anybody on long-term steroids, are ineligible.

Anybody at increased risk of contracting Covid-19 for any reason - including age, social situation or ethnicity - is particularly welcome to volunteer.

Dr Philip Short, consultant respiratory physician at Ninewells Hospital, said, “This is the first study using this potential vaccine to be trialled in the UK and focuses on the safety and effectiveness of the vaccine in tackling Covid-19.

"We would encourage anyone to get in touch with us about our vaccine study. Together we can help to eliminate Covid-19.”

Dr Gregor Smith, interim Chief Medical Officer for Scotland, said, “This is the third vaccine trial to open in Scotland and is part of a portfolio of research studies to better understand the virus and drive progress in finding effective treatments, diagnostics and vaccines.

“Whilst recent developments on a potential vaccine are encouraging; we must make sure other clinical trials into Covid-19 vaccines and treatments continue.

“NHS Tayside, along with other sites across the UK, will be participating in the Janssen Covid-19 vaccine study using volunteers recruited through the NHS Covid-19 vaccine research registry. The ongoing commitment of research teams and participants, and the coordinated response to these studies via NHS Research Scotland is vital to drive further progress.”

There are a number of vaccines being identified and safety-tested at the moment, but only large scale trials can give scientists the information needed about how effective they are.

People interested in volunteering can contact the research team via email at [email protected]

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