Investigating a Vaccine Against Plague (PlaVac)

This study is no longer recruiting

You are invited to take part in a research study to test a vaccine against Plague. This study is being conducted by the Oxford Vaccine Group, part of the University of Oxford, and is funded by Innovate UK. 

If you are aged 18 to 55 years old and in good health, then you may be eligible to take part in the study. We will provide reimbursement up to £630 for your time, inconvenience and travel. The total study participation time is up to 1 year. 

What is plague and why is a vaccine important?

Plague is a disease caused by infection with Yersinia pestis, which is a type of bacteria. In humans, this infection can cause high fevers, swollen lymph nodes, shortness of breath, coughing up blood, a bloodstream infection and, if left untreated, death. It is spread by the bite of an infected flea, handling an animal infected with plague or from inhaling respiratory droplets from an infected person.

Since the 1990s, the number of human plague cases has increased in 25 countries. From 2010 to 2015, there were 3248 cases of human plague reported worldwide, including 584 deaths. It is found across the world, but the biggest burden is in very remote and poor parts of Africa and Asia. In 2017-2018 there have been large epidemics in Madagascar and in 2020 fatal cases of bubonic plague in Mongolia and septicaemic plague in the USA.

Plague can be treated effectively with antibiotics if treated early, however this is often not possible in rural areas, where a vaccine would be much more effective. Currently, the only method for controlling plague outbreaks is the reactive use of antibiotics. Therefore, what is needed is an effective vaccine to protect against this disease.

What is the purpose of this study?

The University of Oxford have developed an intramuscular plague vaccine (ChAdOx1), which can also be given orally under the tongue. This study is being conducted to assess the safety of the vaccine and how well it stimulates the immune system to protect against Plague.

This study has been approved by an independent research ethics committee (South Central - Berkshire B)

If you would like to find out more, please read the Study Information Booklet and if you are interested in joining the study please visit where you can register your interest.