THE LEADERS of a coronavirus vaccine trial in Gwent have said this may be "the key to unlocking the restrictions which are placed around our lives."

Aneurin Bevan University Health Board has been selected to take part in the Oxford University-sponsored trial in what could be the next step in back to normality.

500 participants will be recruited from among the Aneurin Bevan University Health Board workforce to take part in the trial, with around 10,000 participants taking part in the trial from across the UK.


Professor Sue Bale, director of research and development at Aneurin Bevan University Health Board, explained why Aneurin Bevan University Health Board was selected, and how the trial would work.

"Aneurin Bevan has been the most badly affected in Wales, in every sense of the word," she said. "Dr Chris Williams worked on the Meningitis vaccine, and because he has had that experience, it was always going to come to Wales.

"The trial will involve six visits. Visit one is to check they are eligible, visit two is having the vaccination, and visit three is a week later where they come back to have more blood tests done, and looking at their side effects and symptoms.

"They then have a visit at month one, month three, month six and month twelve.

(Professor Sue Bale)

"I think every day the public are sat at their dining room tables saying: ‘When will we get a vaccine?’ or ‘How will we get a vaccine?’

"I think this is the key to unlocking the restrictions which are placed around our lives.

"Most folk are enthusiastic to get hold of a vaccine so that they can carry on with their lives in a more normal way. A clinical trial is the only way you can get that vaccine.

"Our frontline staff have been faced by the reality of Covid-19 in their working lives, they have seen all manner and all aspects of the disease. For them they understand what it means and this is an opportunity for our staff to get for the first time access to that vaccine."

Volunteers will be staff aged between 18 and 55 working within health and care settings within the Aneurin Bevan University Health Board area.

Dr Chris Williams, principal investigator for Public Health Wales and lead for the vaccine trial in Wales, said the trial is planned for a year, but could be completed sooner if it proves to be effective.

"We really need to see how the vaccine works in the real world," he said.

"The follow-up is planned to be for one year, although if it turns out to be effective it might be sooner.

"We all want a vaccine because this has been a terrible infection and we really need to try and prevent it."