St George’s extends Covid-19 vaccine study to children
St George’s is one of four sites participating in a new study to assess the safety and immune response of the Oxford-AstraZenaca jab – known as the ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 vaccine – in healthy children aged 6-17 years old.
Building on previous trials of the vaccine, which have shown that it is safe, produces strong immune system responses and has high efficacy in all adults, this trial will assess if children and young adults make a good immune response with the ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 vaccine.
This new trial, a single-blind, randomised phase II trial, will enrol 300 volunteers who live near one of the four study sites – St George’s, the University of Oxford, University Hospital Southampton and Bristol Royal Hospital for Children.
Up to 240 of these volunteers will receive the ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 vaccine and the remainder a control meningitis vaccine, which has been shown to be safe in children but is expected to produce similar reactions, such as a sore arm.
Prof Paul Heath, Consultant in Paediatric Infectious Diseases at St George’s and Director of the Vaccine Institute at St George’s, University of London, said: “Children and young adults taking part in the study will be given the same dose of the vaccine as was given to participants in the adult trial. The results of the adult trial, which was also carried out at St George’s, found that the vaccine is safe, produces strong immune system responses and has excellent levels of protection in all adults.”
Dr Catherine Cosgrove, Consultant in Infectious Diseases and Acute Medicine at St George’s, said: “While the majority of hospital admissions during the pandemic have been of older adults, there were a small number of children who did require treatment in hospital. It is therefore important to establish the safety and immune response to the vaccine in children and young adults as some of them may benefit from vaccination.”
The trial launched today, and first vaccinations are expected during February. The trial is funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) and AstraZeneca.
For further information on the trial, including on how to sign up, visit: covid19vaccinetrial.co.uk