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Tuesday 06 February 2024

Southampton recruits first person in global mpox vaccine study

The first participant in a new international study to find a vaccine for mpox is taking part at the NIHR Southampton Clinical Research Facility (CRF).

The study is aimed at helping to protect people from mpox. It will evaluate the safety and effectiveness of two newly developed vaccines.

Protecting people against mpox

Mpox, previously known as monkeypox, is a major global health problem. It most commonly affects people in west or central Africa, but there have been some cases in the UK.

It causes serious illness in children and adults. Symptoms include a high temperature, exhaustion, and aches and pains, followed by a characteristic rash with raised spots or small fluid-filled blisters.

The first participant

Stephen M, a 36-year-old IT professional from Southampton, is the first person to take part in the mpox vaccine study worldwide.

“I'm entirely non-medical, so this is a great way of participating in something important,” says Stephen. “It's very rewarding to know that you might be contributing to advances in medicine and future breakthroughs.”

He says he is proud to be taking part in the study. He hopes that he is helping to play a small but useful part in the development of the vaccine.

“It would be great if I was now slightly better protected (albeit I had a very small dose for the purposes of safety),” he says. “But ultimately, my hope is that the vaccine is shown to be a safe and effective vaccine against the disease.”

Taking part in the trial

Participants take part over a twelve-month period. Stephen initially had to make regular visits to the CRF, located within University Hospital Southampton, for tests and to receive vaccine doses. His visits are now less frequent, as the team monitor his progress.

Professor Saul Faust, lead investigator for the study in Southampton and Director of the NIHR Southampton CRF, said:

“It’s only thanks to volunteers, such as Stephen, that new vaccines for COVID-19 and now mpox will be found. Mpox is still a huge global health problem that could come back to the UK and richer countries, so having so many volunteers in Southampton willing to participate in trials of new vaccines and medicines is fantastic.”

If you are interested in taking part in the trial in Southampton, please email the CRF at or call 023 8120 4989.