A vaccine for COVID-19 trialled in Hartlepool has been hailed by the health team involved – after results found it to be 89% effective.
The new Novavax vaccine – trialled across the world including at the University Hospital of Hartlepool – will be rolled out later this year.
The hospital site, run by North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust, forms part of an alliance between three health trusts in the region who have come together to share resources and expertise.
The Durham Tees Valley Research Alliance is made up of North Tees and Hartlepool as well as South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust.
Justin Carter, clinical director of research and development at the Trust, said: “It’s exciting news – we are proud that 500 volunteers have put themselves forward
“The three trusts have come together successfully – a huge amount of organisation goes behind a trial like this.
“This is part of a larger trial across the world, in which 20,000 people have volunteered to be a part of.
“The vaccine has found to be effective. It is another thing in our armoury going forward.
“This is part of the initial results of a large series of trials. All those results will go to the regulators who verify the data – and assuming they are happy – it then will be given the green light for use.”
We are all in this together
And there is further reason for the region to celebrate – Fuijifilm Diosynth Biotechnologies in Billingham will be involved in manufacturing the new vaccine.
Speaking about the situation across the world, consultant cardiologist Dr Carter said: “You’ve seen the pressure worldwide with supply. This will mean more vaccines, more suppliers, more production plants the better. There’s no doubt that we do – we need progressive roll-out across the UK and put time and effort to think about how our neighbours and less advantaged countries will do the same.
“We are all in this together.”
“The vaccine studies we have thrown our weight behind have come back positive – that’s part of careful planning and decision making, it stands us in good stead with the year ahead.
“Across Teesside we are the same patients and the same care givers. All three health trusts have worked together across a number of projects. The alliance is of research departments and different clinical departments working together.
“Due to this close working, we have been able to get the critical mass to take huge projects like this on. This goes to show what can be done when the three trusts with primary care trust support come together.
The news has been backed by some of the Trust’s key partners in the area, including Hartlepool Borough Council.
Councillor Shane Moore, leader of the council, said: “I’m delighted a vaccine is to be produced locally in the Tees Valley which was tested here at the University Hospital of Hartlepool.
“The trial was a great accolade for Hartlepool and our wider region and shows we’ve really led the way in trying to eradicate this terrible virus.”