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New mpox vaccine trial looking for volunteers

Last updated: 15/03/2024

University Hospitals Bristol and Weston NHS Foundation Trust are supporting a new trial testing a new vaccine in the fight against mpox.

Transmission of the virus has increased in the UK since 2022, although the number of cases has significantly declined thanks to the rapid rollout by the NHS and sexual health services of vaccines and a campaign geared towards mpox awareness and behavioural change.

Currently there is only one vaccine licenced for immunisation against mpox in the UK and Europe, but as it continues to spread in many countries around the world, more are needed.

Common symptoms of mpox include a rash with painful blisters, as well as fever, chills, muscle aches, swollen lymph nodes, and sore throat. Mpox is spread through physical contact with someone who is currently infected. Anyone can get mpox, but cases in the UK have so far been predominantly in gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men (GBMSM).

Researchers from the Trust are hoping to recruit another 175 volunteers to the study, before the end of April.

They are looking for people between 18 and 49 years old, who are in good medical health and have not been previously vaccinated for mpox or smallpox or had a suspected or confirmed mpox infection. Volunteers can take part at multiple sites across the UK.

Dr Rajeka Lazarus, National Co-ordinating Investigator for the study said: “Mpox is a global public health threat, and more vaccines are urgently needed to prevent future outbreaks.

"Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, we were overwhelmed with the generosity of volunteers who came forward to take part in a number of vaccine trials. Without them, the advances we’ve seen would not have been possible. It would be fantastic to see the same support for mpox research."

Dr Matthew Hallsworth, NIHR Director of Strategic Partnerships, said: “We’re really pleased that Moderna has chosen to run its mpox trial in the UK. This demonstrates our strength in clinical research.

“Our partnership with Moderna ensures UK research is at the cutting edge of new vaccine technologies with the potential to protect against global health threats such as mpox and future pandemics. We hope that recruitment to this trial will be as successful as the Covid-19 vaccine trials that were run in the UK and we encourage the public to help out where they can - whether that’s by volunteering or encouraging others.”

To find out more about participating in this study, please visit the trial website. To receive information about other studies you can take part in, sign up to Be Part of Research.