A new vaccine study aimed at helping protect people from mpox has opened in Southampton.
The research will evaluate the safety and effectiveness of two newly developed vaccines, tested in humans for the first time.
The study will run at the NIHR Southampton Clinical Research Facility (CRF) at Southampton General Hospital. Local volunteers aged 18-45 and 50-65 are invited to come forward to take part.
“This is vital work which will help us learn how best to protect people against MPOX,” said Prof Saul Faust, Director of the NIHR Southampton CRF. “It’s important we have the very best vaccines in place, should we experience another outbreak.
“The vaccines will be immediately important for all at-risk groups, including healthcare workers, and will be important to the whole population if mpox were to spread more widely.”
A global challenge
Mpox is caused by the monkeypox virus, which is related to the smallpox virus.
Last year, it spread quickly in various parts of the world, including Europe and North America. The World Health Organisation (WHO) declared the outbreak a public-health emergency of international concern from July 2022 to May of this year. In the UK, the outbreak centred on London. Hampshire had 21 cases and Dorset 27.
The disease was previously transmitted from animals to humans, but last year spread human to human.
Mpox symptoms may include a painful rash and fever and usually last a few weeks. However, severe cases can lead to medical complications and even death.
There is currently no vaccine licensed in the UK or Europe for immunisation against mpox. Up until now, vaccines created to protect against smallpox have been used. However, supplies have been limited and more vaccines are needed to help protect people worldwide.
The study is looking at the safety and tolerability (side effects) of two different vaccines based on mRNA technology, and whether they stimulate the production of antibodies which can potentially help the body resist mpox.
The vaccines are ‘investigational’ as they have not yet been approved by the Medicines & Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).
You may be eligible for the study if you in good health and either:
Aged 18-45 with no previous mpox / smallpox vaccination
Aged 50-65 and received a smallpox vaccination before 1980
Participants will receive two doses of vaccine one month apart. Taking part will involve 13 visits over 13 months.
You will be paid £50 for each visit completed and £100 for each dosing visit (visits 1 and 5). In addition, you will be paid £20 per day (up to 7 days) for completing the diary. Reasonable travel costs will be reimbursed, such as fuel, parking and public transport.
If you would like to find out more about the study please contact the research team on UHS.RecruitmentCRF@nhs.net or call 0238 120 4989.