Monden decided to sign up following a tweet from the Oxford vaccine group. “They often post calls on Twitter. This time it said they were looking for people to test a corona vaccine,” he told RTL Nieuws.
He didn’t have to think long about it. “I thought: they need people and I am healthy. I am also a blood donor and I am not afraid to be pricked. I used to participate in medical examinations as a student.”
Although he does not know the researchers personally, they are his indirect colleagues. Monden himself is a professor of sociology and demography at the University of Oxford. “I know the work of that group of people. I am confident they know what they are doing.”
The university’s vaccine is made from a weakened version of a cold virus that affects chimpanzees. After successful animal experiments, the researchers plan to vaccinate the first 510 subjects starting next week. The volunteers are between 18 and 55 years of age, later testing is also carried out in other age categories.
It is the first European project to be allowed to inject test subjects, which has already happened in China and the United States. While the research is still ongoing, a total of 1 million doses of the university’s vaccine are already being produced in seven different locations.
A university professor who is participating in the study said earlier this month that the chance is about 80 percent that there will be a working vaccine in September.
After Monden registered, he was sent a questionnaire. “It was a standard list with a few simple questions. But it was also asked, for example, whether I and my housemates have underlying health problems. You had to fill in some kind of medical history.”
Based on the questionnaire, Monden was invited to an extensive screening last week. The medical examination lasted approximately 2.5 hours. “I had to give blood and urine and my heart and lungs were examined. In addition, some extra questions were asked.”
Injecting the vaccine is not without risks, Monden knows. In addition to harmless side effects such as muscle pain or flu symptoms, which can always occur when injecting a vaccine, there are also more serious risks. For example, you can be allergic to the vaccine.
The researchers have also warned him that there is a possibility that his complaints could be worse if he did become infected with the corona virus after the vaccination. “That it makes you heavier than if you were not injected with the vaccine.”
According to Monden, that chance is small. “The researchers say that this scenario is very unlikely. They draw that conclusion from animal experiments that have been done before. But medical studies are never without risk. If you do not want to take that risk, you should not participate. I am always lucky had health. “
Monden expects to receive a call next week that he must come to the medical campus to have the vaccine injected. Then he has to stay for a while to see if he has an allergic reaction and he can go home again.
“I don’t know if I am in the group that will receive the vaccine or if I am in the control group that will receive a meningococcal vaccine. They don’t tell me because they can compare the side effects.”
How often he has to come back for a check also depends on which group he is placed in. “There is a group that needs to come back more often to get blood samples and to check whether antibodies are being produced. I hope that I will be in that group, because then I can go out more often. This is a good thing excuse, “he laughs.
Anke Huckriede, professor of vaccinology at the University of Groningen, calls the research at Oxford University ‘hopeful’. “They’ve come a long way there and they have huge amounts of money involved. They recently received £ 20 million to accelerate research. And they are already scaling up production capacities.”
According to the professor, this is a type of vaccine that has never been marketed before. “Clinical trials have already been conducted with this type of vaccine for a number of other infectious diseases. It has proven that the type of vaccine worked, but no one can predict whether this is the case either.”
There is also a caveat. “Because it is a new type of vaccine, we first have to look closely at how it works and whether it is 100 percent safe.”
In the fall
Huckriede dares not say whether the university will meet the autumn deadline. “It remains to be seen whether that will really work. And a million vaccines in September is nowhere near sufficient to vaccinate the entire English population. But it would be great to first pass the vaccine on to elderly people and healthcare workers, for example. can give. “
Huckriede is hopeful that so many companies are currently working on a corona vaccine. “Having multiple candidates is good, because vaccines are going to lose weight because they don’t work or are not safe.”
It could be that multiple vaccines are ultimately successful. “That is not a problem, because then there is no need to rely on one production facility. And it is also possible that a vaccine in a certain age category works better, for example for the elderly.”