A ROTHERHAM health trust is taking part in an "exciting" research study trialling out a new Covid-19 vaccine.
Biotech company Valneva has developed the vaccine, which it is producing at its base in Livingston, Scotland.
It is said to be the only inactivated and adjuvanted vaccine — meaning an ingredient is being added to create a stronger immune response — in clinical development in Europe.
The Rotherham NHS Foundation Trust has signed up to trial the jab.
Research and development director Anil Hormis said: "During the pandemic in the hospital, we have had a huge focus on participating in the urgent public health research studies to ensure our hospitalised patients had access to all the latest treatments for Covid-19.
"In this next phase, I am really pleased we are getting involved in this latest Covid-19 vaccine research.
"I'm very excited that we have been running and recruiting patients to the Valneva study, which will help evaluate another vaccine that can be used to protect our patients in Rotherham."
Across South Yorkshire, more than 100 volunteers have responded to the study — and more than 4,000 people have been involved across the UK.
Among them is 50-year-old Chris Turner, of Dinnington, who said he had not been called in for a vaccine because he had recently moved home and had yet to register with a doctor.
He added: "My wife mentioned about the trial at the Rotherham trust and I fell into the '50' age category.
"They were keen to get people for the trial, so I thought I would give it a go.
"The more vaccine there are for people, the better."
All volunteers are receiving two active vaccine doses, administered in a four-week interval, of either the Valneva or the AstraZeneca vaccine.
Rachel Walker, lead research nurse and R&D manager at the Rotherham trust, said their vaccine hub had been established by the National Institute for Health Research's (NIHR) Clinical Research Network, so that all Rotherham and Barnsley residents could have the opportunity to take part in Covid vaccine research.
She added: "The research team here at the trust are extremely grateful to the healthy volunteers who are participating in the trial. It has been a big success because of their willingness to get involved."
The research team has been involved in several research trials throughout the pandemic, including the recovery trial, which identified Dexamethasone — normally used to treat rheumatic problems — as a treatment for hospitalised Covid-19 patients requiring oxygen.
"We are very proud to now be supporting this vaccine trial and contributing to producing another vaccine, which will help the fight against Covid-19," she added.
Results of the study are expected by the autumn and will be submitted to the UK's Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) for regulatory approval, subject to the data.