Wrexham to support UK trial for COVID-19 vaccine

Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board and Public Health Wales are looking for volunteers to participate in a clinical trial studying an investigational vaccine against COVID-19.

The vaccine has recently completed preliminary testing in humans, showing promising initial results on antibody levels in healthy volunteers and no serious safety concerns identified to date.

The vaccine now requires testing on a large scale and a study involving 9000 people in around 18 regions across the UK is starting. The aim is to recruit volunteers aged 18-84 who live within a 30 mile radius of Wrexham.

The study aims to recruit a representative sample from the entire population so most people will be suitable. However, this clinical trial would not be suitable for those taking anticoagulant therapy (aspirin is fine) or anyone pregnant or aiming to become pregnant in the next year.

Participants at higher risk from COVID-19 for any reason, e.g. due to their age, social situation or ethnicity, are particularly welcome. Interested individuals are invited to sign up to the trial website here www.preventcovid19trial-uk.com.

The study will involve volunteers making 6 visits to the Wrexham Maelor Hospital site over approximately 13 months. Reasonable travel expenses will be reimbursed.

Dr Orod Osanlou, Principal Investigator for the Novavax trial and Consultant in Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics at Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board, said: “I am delighted that Wrexham will host this exciting trial on behalf of Public Health Wales which, if shown to be effective, may be a route out of the pandemic. The vaccine has undergone phase I and phase II testing already which has shown that it is safe and I would encourage people close to Wrexham to consider taking part in the study. This is great news for the people of Wrexham and for Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board.”

Huw George, Deputy Chief Executive for Public Health Wales, said: “I am delighted that Public Health Wales is working in partnership with Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board, Health and Care Research Wales and the Centre for Trials Research at Cardiff University to deliver this important COVID-19 vaccine research trial in Wales. This work will have a long term impact on the health of the population of Wales if successful and I encourage people in North Wales to take part in this important research.”

Professor Kieran Walshe, Director of Health and Care Research Wales, which is nationally coordinating research and study-set up in Wales, said: “Research is absolutely vital to find new treatments for COVID-19, and a vaccine is the ultimate goal. The collaborations that are taking place across Wales to achieve a common goal is phenomenal and I am proud that researchers in Wales are working with national partners to find the most effective treatments. Our research community and our health and social care staff, are making a real difference to finding a lasting solution to the pandemic.”