Over 100,000 people have volunteered to take part in COVID-19 vaccine trials, helping to speed up efforts to discover a safe and effective vaccine.
The government is today, Monday August 17,encouraging more people to join the thousands of volunteers and sign up to the NHS COVID-19 Vaccine Research Registry to help the NHS in the fight against coronavirus and ensure potential candidates work for everyone.
To enable large-scale vaccine studies to take place across the UK, the aim is to get as many people as possible signed up to the Registry by October.
Researchers particularly welcome people from all parts of society, especially those who are more likely to benefit from a vaccine, including the over 65s, frontline health and social care workers, and those from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic backgrounds.
Clinical studies with a diverse pool of volunteers will help scientists and researchers better understand the effectiveness of each vaccine candidate and will considerably speed up efforts to discover a safe and workable vaccine.
Business Secretary Alok Sharma said:
From John O’Groats to Land’s End, everyone has played their part in tackling coronavirus from wearing face coverings to following social distancing guidance.
Scientists and researchers are working day and night to find a vaccine that meets the UK’s rigorous regulatory and safety standards, but they need hundreds of thousands of people of all backgrounds and ages to sign-up for studies to speed up this vital research.
I urge everyone to play our part in the fight against coronavirus and join the 100,000 people who have already registered, so we can help save and protect millions of lives.
18-year-old Marium Zumeer from Bradford, who was hospitalised after contracting COVID-19, has first-hand experience of the benefits of taking part in clinical trials.
During her time in intensive care, she was offered the opportunity to take part in the national RECOVERY trial, which is testing a range of potential treatments for COVID-19.
This includes the drug dexamethasone, which was found to be the first drug to be effective when treating those who are critically ill with the virus.
RECOVERY trial volunteer Marium Zumeer said: “I will always be grateful for being encouraged to sign up. I remember my dad at the time urging me to take part, not just for myself but for the wider community.
“The result has been really positive for me and I would encourage others to do their bit in helping us all in the fight against coronavirus.”
Chief Medical Officer Professor Chris Whitty said: “I’m very grateful to those who have volunteered for researchers to contact them to take part in COVID-19 vaccine studies, via the NHS COVID-19vaccine research registry.
“The more people who volunteer to take part the more likely we find an answer to whether any vaccine is effective.
“Having 100,000 volunteers in just four weeks shows the selflessness of the public and is testament to the speed of work done by the Vaccines Taskforce, National Institute for Health Research and others to make signing up possible.
“I urge people to continue to sign up. It is important that we have people from different backgrounds and ages as volunteers, so that the vaccines that are developed work for everyone.”
A number of trials in the UK are expected to begin this autumn, working with the NHS, research institutions and businesses, helping to develop and manufacture the vaccines.
Launched on 20 July, the NHS COVID-19 Vaccine Research Registry is an online service allowing members of the public to register their interest in COVID-19 vaccine studies and be contacted to participate in future clinical trials.
Vaccines are tested in stages to ensure they are safe and effective. Volunteers who are contacted to take part in trials will be given information about what stage a particular vaccine is at and details of how it has already been tested.
They will be able to consider this when deciding to take part and people can withdraw from the registry at any point.
The Registry has been developed by the government, in partnership with the NIHR, NHS Digital, the Scottish and Welsh governments and the Northern Ireland Executive.