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Friday, Sep 24, 2021

Volunteer candidates needed at vaccination centers for HKU researches

Volunteer candidates needed at vaccination centers for HKU researches

University of Hong Kong experts are recruiting volunteers at a community vaccination center to help with several researches into Covid-19 vaccines.
HKU's Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine is running the Ap Lei Chau community vaccination center, which provides an opportunity to boost scientific researches including vaccine efficacy and side effects in different populations.

One of the project leaders, Professor Benjamin Cowling, has set up designated spots inside the vaccination center to collect blood samples from voluntary candidates to conduct research on vaccine efficacy.

He said the project aims to follow up on more than 1,000 people who receive either the BioNTech vaccine or the Sinovac vaccine. People can register at the center to provide blood samples and other information that researchers need.

Researchers will obtain blood samples from these people at the first dose, second dose, after six months, after 12 months and at two and three years, to monitor how immunity changes over time.

“In Hong Kong, we are one of the few places in the world that are using both an mRNA vaccine and an inactivated vaccine. We can see how the vaccines are performing in Hong Kong, because we cannot take it for granted that the kinds of immune response, the side effects and so on will be the same everywhere in the world. There may be differences for genetic reasons or whatever. So it is really important to have local data,”Cowling said.

The blood samples will then be sent to the university’s laboratories. After filing and labelling, the blood will be separated out into a clot splitting the red cells from the clear fluid called serum.

Researchers will then carry out multiple tests on the serum to see the level of antibodies from patients and changes of efficacy of the vaccines as time passes.

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