The University of Bradford is hosting one of the world’s first mass Covid-19 vaccine trials, beginning today.

US biotechnology company Novavax is working with Bradford Institute for Health Research (BIHR), part of the Bradford Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust. (BTHFT), to begin trials at the University’s Digital Health Enterprise Zone (DHEZ).

The trial will involve 500 recruits (and another 600 at a site in Leeds), with 50 people given the vaccine per day. Volunteers will be given two doses of the vaccine, one on their first day and a second on day 21. They will then be monitored for 12 months. A total of 10,000 people will take part in the ‘Phase 3’ trial, including at other sites, across the UK.

Visiting Honorary Professor at the University of Bradford Dinesh Saralaya

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. 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 added: “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. 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 said: “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 in order for the vaccine to be effective. Further vaccine trials are expected to begin in November.