COVID-19 vaccine trials are to take place across central Scotland.

A total of 850 health and care staff in the NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde and NHS Lothian areas will be invited to take part.

Greater Glasgow will work in partnership with Glasgow University to vaccinate and monitor 250 people, while NHS Lothian will work with Edinburgh University and 600 participants.

The research is part of phase III of the Oxford University Covid-19 trials.

Participants need to be aged between 18 and 55, healthy, and not infected at any point with Covid-19.

The group will be given either one or two doses of the ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 vaccine, or a licensed meningitis vaccine (MenACWY) which will be used as a control for comparison.

Screening and vaccination of participants will begin in the next two weeks, and the trial will take 12 months.

Emma Thomson, professor of infectious diseases at the MRC-University of Glasgow, said: “The University of Glasgow is extremely proud to be leading the phase II/III part of the University of Oxford Covid-19 vaccine trial in Glasgow in partnership with the NHS.

“An effective vaccine would be an important step forward in controlling the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic on a global scale.

“The vaccine will be tested initially in frontline healthcare staff in order to test the effectiveness and safety of immunisation in an at-risk group.

“Although we are still at a very early stage, we remain hopeful that the information we gather will contribute to international efforts to secure a vaccine to protect those most vulnerable to infection.”

Glasgow Times:

Dr Jennifer Armstrong, medical director at NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, added: “We’re proud to have NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde join the global effort in finding an effective vaccine for Covid-19.”

Dr Tracey Gillies, medical director at NHS Lothian, said the health board is pleased to have been chosen as one of 17 sites for trials across the UK, due to its experience in testing vaccines.

She added: “I would like to thank everyone for their participation in this vital research. Their involvement will be essential in the development of a vaccine and this pioneering and important research allows us the opportunity to contribute to the development of a globally approved vaccine against Covid-19.”

Health Secretary Jeane Freeman said: “Scotland has a long-established reputation for medical research and I would like to thank the research community across the country.

“The pace of work and the commitment of teams across Scotland has been outstanding and is testament to the world-class research infrastructure and expertise we

have here.”