Imperial College Healthcare to take part in latest national vaccine study

Researchers and clinicians from across the Trust are taking part in another leading phase three Covid-19 vaccine study, as researchers around the world continue work to secure a range of vaccines to help tackle coronavirus. 

At Imperial College Healthcare, the study will take place in the newly refurbished vaccine hub at Charing Cross and it is co-funded nationally by the UK government’s Vaccine Taskforce. It will test the safety and effectiveness of a new two-dose regimen for a vaccine candidate which has been developed by The Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson. The study will recruit up to 30,000 people worldwide, 6,000 of them in the UK.  

Professor Alan Winston, Principal Investigator of the study at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, said: “We are very excited to be running this study at the newly furnished vaccine hub at Charing Cross Hospital and look forward to welcoming volunteers from North West London interested in participating in the study.  

“Safe and effective vaccines against COVID-19 remain a top health priority and we are delighted this promising vaccine is now entering clinical studies in the UK.”  

This study is one of three involving the Trust – Imperial College Healthcare is also a trial site for two other different vaccine studies, one led by the University of Oxford and the other by Imperial College London.  

The announcement of this latest study, which is now recruiting volunteers at sites across the UK, comes following recent news of promising findings in two other vaccine trials. The BioNTech and Pfizer vaccine has been found to be more than 90 per cent effective in preventing Covid-19 and a second study of the Moderna vaccine in the US has shown that it is more than 95 per cent effective.  

The UK government has developed a portfolio of six different vaccine candidates and secured access to 350 million doses to date. Of this, an agreement has been made in principle to include 30 million doses of the Janssen vaccine if it is safe and effective.  

Volunteers from a variety of age groups and backgrounds, including some of the thousands who have registered with the NHS Covid-19 Vaccine Research Registry, will begin taking part in the latest study at 17 National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) sites across the UK. These include Southampton, Bristol, Cardiff, London, Leicester, Sheffield, Manchester, Dundee and Belfast. Recruitment into the study will complete in March 2021 and the study will last for 12 months.  

Dr Vanessa Apea, a Black, Asian and minority ethnic Clinical Champion at NIHR Clinical Research Network North Thames, and a consultant in Sexual Health and HIV at Barts Health NHS Trust, which is also a trial site in London, said: “Covid-19 still poses a significant threat to our health and our communities and many of us are still vulnerable to it. One of the ways we can reduce the threat and impact of this disease is a vaccine. The topic of vaccines divides communities. For many, and in particular, Black, Asian and ethnic minority communities, the word vaccine generates a lot of fear, rooted in mistrust, which can understandably lead to reluctance in taking part in a trial.  

“We know that these communities are disproportionately affected by Covid-19 and this makes it even more important that any outcomes from research, including new treatments and ways to prevent the disease, work for all communities. Only by doing this can we truly take control of Covid-19, so we really need people from Black, Asian and ethnic minority communities to sign up to learn more and be part of research.”  

Chair of the Government’s Vaccine Taskforce, Kate Bingham said: “The recent news about progress on the search for a vaccine is enormously exciting for the whole world, but we must not take our focus off continuing the important research to work out which vaccines work best for different people to provide long lasting, effective protection against Covid-19. 

“Many vaccines are needed both here in the UK, and globally, to ensure we can provide a safe and effective vaccine for the whole population. That is why the launch of this trial to establish the safety, effectiveness, and very importantly the durability, of the Janssen vaccine is so significant, and I would continue to encourage people to sign up and take part in vaccine trials. By co-funding this study we are helping generate data for future regulatory submissions internationally as well as for the UK."  

If you are interested in supporting the national effort to speed up vaccine research and would like to receive more information about volunteering for clinical studies, visit: to join the NHS Covid-19 Vaccine Research Registry.