Imperial COVID-19 Vaccine Trial

30 Jul 2020

Trials are underway for a COVID-19 vaccine candidate developed by a team at Imperial College London. The research led by Professor Robin Shattock, is the first test of a new self-amplyifying RNA (saRNA) technology, which has the potential to revolutionise vaccine development and enable scientists to respond more quickly to emerging diseases.

More than 300 participants have now been screened and the clinical team, led by Dr Katrina Pollock and senior clinician Dr David Owen, has successfully administered first doses to 15 trial volunteers. 

The vaccine candidate is being developed and trialled thanks to more than £41 million in funding from the UK government and a further £5 million in philanthropic donations. 

Once administered, the vaccine instructs muscle cells to make copies of a spike protein found on the outside of the virus. This should train the immune system to respond to the coronavirus so the body can easily recognise it and defend itself against COVID-19 in future.

The first healthy volunteers have received the vaccine as part of a dose escalation phase to assess safety and to find the optimal doseage. Over the coming weeks, more than 300 healthy participants in total are expected to receive two doses of the vaccine. If it is safe and shows a promising immune response in humans, then larger trials would be planned for later in the year.

For more information on the Imperial COVID-19 vaccine, including latest news and how to register as a volunteer, visit the Imperial COVID-19 Vaccine Trial website.