Five hundred UCLH staff to receive Covid-19 vaccine

Healthy workers are first in London to take part in Oxford University trial

Tuesday, 26th May 2020


UCLH in Euston Road 

STAFF at UCLH are to be the first in the capital to trial the Covid-19 vaccine developed by University of Oxford.

Five hundred healthy workers in intensive care, A&E and coronavirus wards – including non clinical staff like porters and cleaners – are being selected this week.

The study – which will take place throughout early June – aims to assess if healthy people can be protected from virus by the vaccine.

The director of UCLH clinical research Professor Vincenzo Libri said: “We urgently need a vaccine – both to combat the current pandemic and to prevent future outbreaks. We hope we are able to demonstrate that this vaccine can protect against the coronavirus.”

Biological samples will be analysed at the Francis Crick Institute in Somers Town. The Crick has been working with UCLH throughout the crisis.

The University of Oxford began developing the vaccine in January using a virus taken from chimpanzees. But scientists have this week raised that the number of coronavirus cases in this country us dropping so dramatically there may enough people left to test it on.

The first phase of the nationwide trial in adult volunteers began in Oxford in April. So far more than 1,000 immunisations have been completed, and follow up is ongoing. The third phase has expected to see 10,260 adults and children recruited by research centres.

UCLH Chief Executive Professor Marcel Levi said: “I am proud that we at UCLH are involved in this study and I thank all colleagues who are contributing to our efforts – either by running the trial or by taking part in it.”

A staff protest was held outside UCLH earlier this month calling for better PPE and testing following the death of six workers at the hospital.

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