By Tatiana Zaituni
Earlier this week, the University of Bradford started one of the world’s first mass COVID-19 vaccine trials.
The University of Bradford is one of 16 centres to begin running trials.
The professor leading this study, Dr Dinesh Saralaya, is urging more BAME volunteers to sign up.
US biotechnology company, Novavax, is working with Bradford Institute for Health Research (BIHR) and part of the Bradford Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust (BTHFT) at the University’s Digital Health Enterprise Zone (DHEZ).
This trial will involve 500 recruits. 50 people will receive the vaccine each day. Another 600 will go through this process at a site in Leeds.
During the trial period, volunteers will be given two doses of vaccine, the initial will be on the first day, and the other on day 21. They will be monitored for the next 12 months.
Visiting Honorary Professor at the University of Bradford, Dr Dinesh Saralaya, who is a Consultant Respiratory Physician at BTHFT, said: “This is great news for Bradford, and it is of great prestige that we are using the University.
A total of 10 000 will take part in the trial ‘phase 3’, including other sites across the country.
“This is the first mass COVID vaccine trial in West Yorkshire, and we will be one of the first centres of 16 to be initiated.”
He continued: “We have seen more than 2,300 people sign up as volunteers, but only a small proportion of those are from black, Asian, minority ethnic (BAME) backgrounds.”
Dr Saralaya who described the first phase trial as ‘disappointing’ and ‘very worrying’ after only 3% were of BAME volunteers.
Despite this, he expressed optimism as “We are making great efforts to try and recruit more people from these groups and would like to appeal for more to sign up.”
University of Bradford Vice-Chancellor, Professor Shirley Congdon, stated: “The University is delighted to be supporting the BIHR by hosting their COVID vaccine trials.
“This is an important collaboration between the University’s DHEZ and BIHR that demonstrates the strength of partnership with the NHS locally and shows the benefits that can come when organisations work together to make the best use of their combined assets.”
People can volunteer here. All those taking part must be over 18 and not have had Covid-19 for the vaccine to be effective.
Further vaccine trials are expected to begin in November.