The study is supported by The National Institute for Health Research, jointly hosted by Royal Surrey NHS Foundation Trust and University of Surrey. It is open to healthy adults who have not had a previous COVID-19 vaccine.
Developed by the specialty vaccine company Valneva, the vaccine is being manufactured at the company’s site in Livingston, West Lothian, and is the only inactivated, adjuvanted (an ingredient to create a stronger immune response) COVID-19 vaccine in clinical development in Europe.
4,000 participants will be recruited across the UK, and everyone involved in the study will receive two active vaccine doses, administered in a four week interval. Those enrolled in the study over the age of 30 will be randomised to receive two doses of either the Valneva vaccine, or the approved Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine. Participants aged 18-29 can be enrolled into the study to receive the Valneva vaccine and will not be offered the approved Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine.
Thomas Lingelbach, Chief Executive Officer of Valneva said “As COVID-19 continues to impact people’s daily lives, Valneva remains fully focused on developing another safe and efficacious vaccine solution. The world needs multiple vaccines, and we believe that ours has an important role to play - including boosters or potential modifications to address variants.
"The initiation of this trial marks a significant milestone in the development of the only inactivated vaccine candidate against COVID-19 in clinical trials in Europe. We are grateful to the NIHR for its continued support and to everyone who volunteers to make clinical trials possible.”
The Valneva vaccine collaboration is not the first time the Surrey-based university and hospital have joined forces to improve public health. Previous collaborations have led to research into advancing the use of immunotherapy in treating cancer.
Now, researchers from both organisations are developing culturally relevant health messages for ethnic minority groups to help reduce the transmission of the virus and raise awareness of their susceptibility, aiming to enhance participation in the national vaccination programme.
The hospital is encouraging people to take part in these trials to help those in need by providing more vaccine options. Valneva especially encouraging ethnic minorities to take part and help expand their study, making it as safe and broadly researched as possible.
Dr Hana Hassanin, who is the local Principal Investigator for the Royal Surrey NHS Foundation Trust and University of Surrey and the Medical Director of Surrey Clinical Research Facility at the University of Surrey said “Although there are a number of vaccines now available it is important that the scientific and medical community continue to develop and trial new inoculations, as we have seen a one size fits all approach does not apply to vaccinations. A variety of proven vaccines will also help protect countries from supply, or other, issues that may mean one vaccine becomes difficult to manufacture or distribute."