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Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine: Racing towards a vaccine

This is the fifth article in our series recognising and supporting the incredible work taking place across the non-profit sector in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Throughout the crisis, organisations have remained focused on their mission and have drawn on the skills and resilience of their staff and volunteers to support people on the new ‘frontline’. Vital emergency support from grass roots organisations for those who are most at-risk works alongside the less-visible efforts of institutions who are developing knowledge of the transmission, treatment and prevention of the virus.

There is a wide range of research being carried out in the North of England, including at the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, within the Centre for Drugs and Diagnostics. The Trust has supported LSTM for around 20 years, initially providing annual scholarships funding for their unique Diploma in Sexual and Reproductive Health, and then for B!RTH – an innovative collaboration between theatre and global maternal healthcare.

LSTM is part of national and international research to develop new treatments and share knowledge of the virus. The School brings all disciplines across the NHS and Universities, to include research from pharmacologists, virologists, immunologists and health systems experts. 200 researchers have been deployed across 21 Covid-19 projects to date.

Alongside partner organisations, LSTM has now been selected as one of the UK sites for Phase III of the University of Oxford’s COVID-19 vaccine clinical trial. Led by Professor Andrew Pollard from the Oxford Vaccine Group, the trial will study the efficacy and safety of the candidate COVID-19 vaccine (ChADOx1 ncov-19) in UK healthy adults.

LSTM project Lead, Professor Daniela Ferreira comments: “We were delighted to be asked by Professor Pollard to be a site for the study. From the vaccine candidates we have in the race against COVID, the Oxford vaccine is progressing at an amazing pace. If the trials demonstrate this vaccine is safe and effective there will be millions of doses already produced that could be quickly administered. The potential impact of this could be massive on two fronts, by saving millions of lives not only in the UK, but also globally, as well as the economic benefits of allowing society to get back to normal without the risk of future COVID-19 peaks.”

You can read more about LSTM’s range of Covid-19 work here, as well as blog posts and ‘panel discussions’ about the virus and its effects.