The coronavirus vaccine is being rigorously tested around the globe as researchers in different countries race to develop a vaccine against coronavirus. More than 170 candidate vaccines are now being tracked by the World Health Organization. More than 100,00 people have signed up to take part in future NHS trials of a vaccine, but more are needed. So how can you volunteer?
Britons are being called on to sign up for future coronavirus vaccine trials after the chair of the UK’s taskforce said we could have a vaccine by early next year.
Initially, 100,000 volunteers have already signed up to the NHS COVID-19 Vaccine Research Registry.
Officials want as many people to enrol as possible in a bid to speed up efforts to find a safe and effective jab which can save lives.
In particular, vaccine researchers are looking for more volunteers from “high priority groups” who are disproportionately affected by the virus, including ethnic minorities and those aged 65 and over.
Kate Bingham, the taskforce’s chairwoman, said the registry has had a “phenomenal uptake” so far.
She said: “The purpose of the registry is to try and get as many people as possible to sign up so that as we recruit and start-up these big efficacy studies, we’ve got people we can go to immediately.
“These trials are safe, please sign up.
“The quicker we get the clinical trials enrolled, vaccinated and get the results, the quicker we can get a vaccine.”
How does the coronavirus vaccine work?
Vaccines minim the virus, or at least part of the virus.
They protect against the virus by stimulating the immune system to develop antibodies.
Vaccines must follow higher safety standards than other drugs because they are given to millions of healthy people.
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How are vaccines tested?
Vaccines normally require years of testing and additional time to produce them at scale.
However, given the intensity and prominence of the coronavirus threat, scientists are hoping to develop a vaccine in 12 to 18 months.
During the pre-clinical stage of testing, vaccines are given to animals to see if an immune response is triggered.
Currently, there are 138 pre-clinical trials in place.
In the first clinical-stage of testing the virus is given to a small group of people.
This stage is to determine if the virus is safe and to learn more about the immune response it provokes.
During phase two, the vaccine is given to hundreds of people so scientist can learn more about its safety and the correct dosage.
The third and final stage of vaccine testing involves giving the vaccine to thousands of people to confirm its safety, including any rare side effects and effectiveness.
These trials involve a control group who are all given a placebo.
In terms of the coronavirus vaccine, there are currently 25 vaccines in phase one, 15 in phase two and seven in phase three.
How to volunteer for coronavirus vaccine trials
Vaccines must be tested to ensure they are safe to disseminate to the masses.
During the vaccine trials, you will need to visit a hospital or other research site a few times between six and 12 months.
There are currently two national coronavirus vaccine studies approved by the National Institute for Health Research.
A number of new trials are due to begin in the UK this autumn and volunteers can register online here.
Volunteers will be asked questions about themselves and then will be contacted by researchers to tell you more about it.
You do not have to talk to researchers or take part in a study, but if you sign up, you can withdraw your permission at any time.
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