Cambridge University has announced that recruitment is ongoing for volunteers to participate in trials of a new needle-free vaccine for protection against the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust’s clinical trials team is looking for healthy subjects aged 18 to 50 years to participate in the study, which will last around 12 months.

Professor Jonathan Heeney at the University of Cambridge and spin-out company DIOSynVax developed the vaccine, DIOS-CoVax.

Administered through a needle-free ‘injection’, the next-generation vaccine is envisaged as a booster targeting the virus and relatives that threaten future pandemics.

When injected, a blast of air delivers the vaccine into the skin.

DIOS-CoVax has already been part of trials that were conducted at the NIHR Southampton Clinical Research Facility to evaluate its safety. Recruitment of participants is now being expanded to Cambridge.

Heeney said: “We’re excited to be bringing our vaccine ‘home’ and are looking to recruit healthy volunteers to help in this crucial stage of development towards what we hope will eventually become a universal coronavirus vaccine.

“Our vaccine is innovative, both in terms of how it aims to protect against thevirus responsible for our current pandemic and future coronaviruses, but also in how it is delivered. If you’re someone who hates needles, our vaccine could be the answer as it’s delivered by a jet of air, not a needle.”

The vaccine is expected to be manufactured as a powder to improve vaccination efforts across the globe, particularly in low- and middle-income nations, once the trials are successful.

Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation, provided funding for the vaccine development.