NIHR reveals phase 1/2 trial to evaluate an investigational vaccine for mpox in the UK

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More than 3,700 cases of mpox have been identified in the UK since May 2022

The National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) has announced a new phase 1/2 trial, delivered by the NIHR Clinical Research Network and sponsored by Moderna, to test the effectiveness of an investigational mRNA vaccine for mpox.

The mPower trial will evaluate the safety and immune response to mRNA-1769, which aims to protect against illness caused by the mpox virus.

Currently a global public health threat, mpox is an infectious disease caused by the monkeypox virus, which is spread through physical contact with someone who is infected, leading to symptoms including painful rashes, enlarged lymph nodes and fever.

Since May 2022, over 3,700 cases of mpox have been identified in the UK, the majority of which have been from the Clade II B.1 lineage, predominantly in gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men.

In the UK and Europe, there is only one vaccine licensed for the immunisation against mpox, called Imvanex, manufactured by Bavarian Nordic, along with Jynneos in the US and Imvamune in Canada.

Undertaken as part of the Moderna-UK Strategic Partnership, the trial aims to recruit around 350 healthy participants between the ages of 18 and 49 years old who have not been previously vaccinated for mpox and who have not had a suspected or confirmed mpox infection to receive the investigational vaccine or a placebo.

Researchers from University Hospitals Bristol and Weston NHS Foundation Trust are hoping to recruit a further 175 volunteers for the study, aiming to complete enrolment by April this year.

Dr Matthew Hallsworth, NIHR Director of Strategic Partnerships, said: “Our partnership with Moderna ensures UK research is at the cutting edge of new vaccine technologies with the potential to protect against global health threats such as mpox and future pandemics.

“We hope that recruitment to this trial will be as successful as the COVID-19 vaccine trials that were run in the UK and we encourage the public to help out where they can.”

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