UK launches Covid-19 trial registry to support vaccine research

Allie Nawrat 20 July 2020 (Last Updated July 20th, 2020 13:58)

The UK Government's Vaccine Taskforce has launched a NHS Covid-19 vaccine research registry that will facilitate recruitment into clinical trials. The hope is to get 500,000 signed up to large-scale vaccine studies by October.

Secretary of State for Health and Social Care Matt Hancock said: “A safe and effective vaccine is our best hope of defeating coronavirus and returning to life as normal. 

“We have some of our best scientists and researchers working on this, but members of the public have a vital role to play too. So I urge everyone who can to back the national effort and sign up to the NHS Covid-19 vaccine research registry to help find a vaccine as soon as possible.

“Every volunteer will be doing their bit towards finding a vaccine for Covid-19 that will have the potential to save millions of lives around the world and bring this pandemic to an end." 

Chief Medical Officer Professor Chris Whitty added: "Thanks to COVID-19 patients' willingness to take part in treatment studies, we've been able to identify treatments that work and ones that don't, which has improved patient care world-wide.

"Now that there are several promising vaccines on the horizon, we need to call again on the generosity of the public to help find out which potential vaccines are the most effective.

"Using a new NHS website developed in partnership between the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) and NHS Digital, people across the UK can register their interest to be approached to join a vaccine study." 

This came simultaneously to the UK Vaccine Taskforce stating it had secured access to 90 million doses of promising Covid-19 vaccine candidates.

This comes as a result of signing deals with both Pfizer/BioNTech and Valneva. The UK Government has also negotiated access to AstraZeneca's treatments, which contain Covid-19 neutralising antibodies and therefore can protect those who cannot receive vaccines, such as immunocompromised patients.

These deals are in addition to an agreement signed between the UK's Vaccine Taskforce and AstraZeneca for 100 million doses of the latter's Covid-19 vaccine back in May.

Now the UK will have access to three different types of Covid-19 vaccines - adenoviral, mRNA and inactivated whole virus vaccines -  as well as enough vaccine to protect identified priority groups, such as frontline healthcare workers.