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University of Surrey recruiting volunteers for Covid-19 vaccine trial

3 minute read
University of Surrey recruiting volunteers for Covid-19 vaccine trial

Published by Carol Musgrave at 6:00am 2nd August 2020.

The University of Surrey has been selected as site where a COVID-19 vaccine will be tested in a clinical trial.

It is one of several sites being used around the country following the first phase of human testing of the vaccine, developed by scientists at Imperial College London.

The team at Surrey, led by Dr Hana Hassanin, want to recruit 40 volunteers aged between 18-75 years old. 

Volunteers will receive two doses over two visits - an initial dose and then a booster four weeks later.

Professor Simon Skene, from the University of Surrey, said: 

"Trialling vaccines in humans is an essential step in our fight against viruses such as Covid-19 and I am thrilled that the team at Surrey are contributing to this important trial.

"This new vaccine has undergone extensive pre-clinical testing and produced encouraging signs of immune response in animals.

"Volunteers are key in making research such as this possible and I would encourage anyone who is interested in taking part to get in touch." 

The university said unlike many traditional vaccines which are based on a weakened or modified form of the virus, this one uses synthetic strands of genetic code (called self-amplifying RNA, or saRNA), based on the SARS CoV-2 virus's genetic material. 

Once injected into the muscle, the RNA self-amplifies and instructs the body's own cells to make copies of the spiky protein (S-glycoprotein) found on the outside of the virus.

Coronaviruses use spike proteins to gain entry into cells to infect them, and these proteins are the main target of antibodies.

Using this novel vaccine type should elicit an immune response to the S protein so the body can easily recognise it and defend itself against Covid-19 in case of future infection. 

Professor Robin Shattock, who is leading the development of the vaccine at Imperial College London, said:

"The early results from pre-clinical data have been promising, and the expansion of our trial to additional centres will provide further data on the safety of the vaccine, and the immune response."

If you are interested in taking part in the University of Surrey trial, go to www.helpresearch.co.uk or contact the recruitment team directly on 0800 269847 or crc-recruitment@surrey.ac.uk 

For full details of Imperial's Covid-19 vaccine, visit the Imperial Covid-19 Vaccine Trial website.