A nurse administers the Hipra vaccine to a volunteer as the fourth dose. / sur

Malaga’s Regional Hospital urgently seeks volunteers to take part in Spain's Hipra coronavirus vaccine trials

Those who take part in the clinical testing must have had three doses of the Pfizer vaccine and never had Covid-19

Ángel Escalera

The Regional Hospital in Malaga has put out an urgent call for volunteers to take part in clinical testing of Spain's Hipra Covid vaccine. At least 50 volunteers are needed to help them test the immunogenicity and safety of the new vaccine, which has been developed by the Spanish biotechnology pharmaceutical company Hipra. The volunteers must have had three doses of the Pfizer vaccine and must never have had Covid-19. The Hipra dose is being administered as the fourth dose to combat coronavirus.

The reason for the urgency is that Hipra needs more people to take part in the study so the European Medications Agency can scrutinise the results of the clinical testing correctly; if this is not possible then this Spanish vaccine will not be approved. The volunteers will be needed from next week. In fact, the Regional hospital has succeeded in finding enough volunteers for its own needs but other hospitals which are taking part in the study have not, which is why more people are required.

Not inferior to Pfizer

Dr Salvador de Oña, the head of preventive medicine at the Regional Hospital, said the tests will compare the Pfizer vaccine with the Hipra version. “We hope they will show that Hipra is not inferior to Pfizer,” he explained. That is why nobody who has received Moderna, AstraZeneca or Janssen vaccines in the past would be suitable to take part.

Ten Spanish hospitals are carrying out clinical tests on the Hipra vaccine: the Regional in Malaga, the Clínic in Barcelona, the Josep Trueta (Girona), the Vall d'Hebron (Barcelona), the Germans Trias i Pujol – Can Ruti (Badalona), the Gregorio Marañón (Madrid), La Paz (Madrid), the Príncipe de Asturias (Alcalá de Henares, the Cruces (Baracaldo) and the Clínico in Valencia.

The technology used in the Hipra vaccine makes it very versatile for adapting to new variants of the virus if this becomes necessary in the future. The results so far show that it produces neutralising antibodies against the variants which are currently of concern and it is also effective in preventing the illness.