Liverpool Covid vaccine trials saw thousands flock to take part

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Clinical trials held in Liverpool for Covid vaccines were the most easily recruited in the whole of the UK, with some tests over-subscribed up to 20 times over, new figures reveal.

Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine (LSTMED) today thanked the people of Merseyside for their "amazing" response to coronavirus trials held over the past 12 months.

Statistics show that three different trials during the pandemic were each inundated with volunteers, with one getting 2,000 people registering despite just 100 being needed.

Liverpool was the fastest recruiting city for vaccine trials in the UK.

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Medics today said without the swift contribution of the people of the city 'we now wouldn't be coming out of lockdown."

The first LSTMED study, in May, last year, saw up to 8,000 people volunteer for the Oxford vaccine study before the jab was licensed as part of a drive to see if it offered worthwhile protection against coronavirus.

Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine

And two further studies at the Liverpool school, Com Cov 1 and Com Cov 2, also resulted in demanded massively outstripping capacity.

Those later studies revolved around mixing of the two jabs to analyse if they offered slightly different protections and results against the virus.

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For each, just 100 people were needed, but for Com Cov 1, about 2,000 people signed up, and 1,000 people for Com Cov 2.

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Today, senior officials at LSTMED hailed the cooperation of the people of Liverpool as they marked last Thursday's International Clinical Trials Day, which recalls the first clinical trial by James Lind in 1747 into the causes of scurvy on board the HMS Salisbury.

Andrea Collins, senior clinical lecturer in respiratory medicine, at Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, told the ECHO: "We were the fastest site in the UK, and possibly globally, to recruit to the main study, last May, on which the vaccine was licensed.

"We recruited the most people in the shortest time, it really put Liverpool on the map, and also meant we were offered more vaccine trials in the future.

Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine

"I believe that in the city there is strong feeling towards LSTMED who think of it as a trustworthy institution, people feel it is a safe place to come to be involved in the study.

"They realised it was about making history and playing their part."

The school now wants to promote their database for future research, into diseases like pneumonia, so it is easier and quicker to get the volunteers needed for those studies.

People can often be remunerated for their time taking part in studies, depending on how long they spend during the process, but it can involve several hundreds of pounds.

And clinicians point out how taking part in trials can also sometimes help to identify unknown health conditions in patients, with one man discovering he had a heart murmur which is now being successfully treated.

Another Covid trial is currently ongoing at Liverpool University Hospitals centering around the possibility of a Covid booster jab, a third shot in the arm.

Dr Andrea Collins, senior clinical lecturer at Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine and honorary consultant in respiratory infection at Liverpool University Hospitals trust

Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine say signing up to their database will not mean potential volunteers are inundated with messages and it doesn't obligate someone to take part.

Angie Hyder-Wright, accelerator research clinic manager, at Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, said there were currently 450 people on their future database, but thousands were needed.

She said: "Engagement with research as gone through the roof.

"We are setting up a database for all of our future studies.

"People in Liverpool were so keen to be involved that I was recruiting people in hospital beds with Covid.

"Everybody was keen to do something to contribute to science and do their bit.

Liverpool Tropical School of Medicine.(Pic Andrew Teebay).

"We are really grateful to the people of Merseyside and everyone who took part as without them we wouldn't be coming out of lockdown.

"The visibility of the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine has now really increased and people are a lot more aware of what we do.

"We didn't come across any anti-vaxxers, the uptake was phenomenal, the atmosphere in the clinics was fantastic.

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"It made us proud to be part of Liverpool."

To register on the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, visit here www.lstmed.ac.uk/arc-volunteer-database

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