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25 Mar 2021 | 15:34

Open Orphan makes progress with Covid-19 characterisation study

(Sharecast News) - Specialist pharmaceutical services clinical research company Open Orphan updated the market on its world-first Covid-19 characterisation study on Thursday, reporting that the first three volunteers had now completed the quarantine phase.

The AIM-traded firm said that following research ethics committee approval on 17 February, its subsidiary hVIVO began the study at the Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust in early March.

It said the first three volunteers had successfully completed the quarantine phase of their participation with no safety concerns presented, and had been discharged from the unit.

The study would now progress to the next group of volunteers.

Open Orphan said the first three volunteers would continue their participation with follow-up visits and monitoring for a period of up to one year.

The virus characterisation study would inoculate up to 90 volunteers between the ages of 18 and 30, to enable identification of the most appropriate dose of the virus needed to cause Covid-19 infection in a safe and controlled environment.

It said the study was being funded by the UK Government, with Imperial College London the clinical study sponsor.

The study was being conducted by hVIVO at the Royal Free Hospital, under the scrutiny of "highly-trained" scientists and medics.

Open Orphan said the virus being used in the characterisation study had been produced under hVIVO's supervision by a team at Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children NHS Foundation Trust in London, with support from virologists at Imperial College London.

"We are pleased to announce that the first three volunteers in this world's first study have now successfully completed the quarantine phase - these volunteers will continue to be monitored post-study for up to one year," said hVIVO's chief scientific officer Dr Andrew Catchpole.

"Throughout their stay at the Royal Free Hospital in London, the volunteers are closely monitored by our highly trained team of clinicians.

"We expect that this study will greatly assist our understanding of this disease and provide insights into its progression, natural immune response, and transmission."

At 1511 GMT, shares in Open Orphan were down 1.23% at 32p.
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