Latest stage of plant-based Covid-19 vaccine study begins in York

Credit: PA

The latest plant-based COVID-19 vaccine study in the UK is to begin in Yorkshire.

Medicago, a biopharmaceutical company based in Canada, and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) are launching the Phase 3 study which will be run at the York and Scarborough Teaching Hospitals.

It is the first to test a plant-derived COVID-19 vaccine candidate.

1,500 volunteers will be recruited to the study within the UK, with healthy adults between the age of 18 to 39-year-old being encouraged to take part in the study.

Those who take part will receive two doses of the experimental vaccine and two doses of a placebo.

It is the sixth NIHR-supported vaccine to be delivered in the UK, alongside the Oxford/AstraZeneca, Imperial College London, Novavax, Janssen and Valneva studies which are currently at different stages of completion.Professor Charles Lacey from the Hull York Medical School, said the trial has shown ''exciting'' results. “Although there are several approved COVID-19 vaccines available, research is ongoing to provide more options, since all vaccines may work differently in providing protection against COVID-19.  The vaccine we are trialling showed very exciting results in phase 1/2 studies.''

Lydia Harris, Head of Research and Development at York and Scarborough Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, added that she was proud of her staff's contribution to the study.

Eleven National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) sites, and three sites across Scotland and Wales, will run the Medicago vaccine study, in addition to multiple sites in the United States, Canada, Europe and Latin America. The study will enroll up to 30,000 volunteers worldwide.