New trial launches for two-in-one vaccine to prevent RSV and hMPV

Norfolk and Norwich University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, is one of seven UK sites, participating in the phase 1 study of two investigational mRNA vaccines: one for both respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and human metapneumovirus (hMPV) and a second for RSV alone in infants aged five to eight months old. The study is being led by scientists at the University of Oxford and the vaccines are being developed by Moderna.

Globally, RSV infects up to 90% of children within the first two years of life and frequently reinfects older children and adults. For most people, RSV causes a mild respiratory illness however in some infants, RSV can cause bronchiolitis which leads to the inflammation of the small airways and significant breathing difficulties. In the UK approximately 1 in 50 children under one year of age are admitted to hospital due to RSV infections. Closely related to RSV, hMPV is a respiratory pathogen, associated with a range of illnesses from mild infection to severe bronchiolitis and pneumonia.

Professor Paul Clarke, Consultant Neonatologist and local Principal Investigator on the study, said: “RSV and hMPV are two of the leading causes of respiratory infections in children, the elderly and immunocompromised patients worldwide. This trial is an important early step in the development of a paediatric vaccine against RSV and hMPV.”

mRNA vaccines work by using a small piece of messenger RNA (mRNA) to instruct cells in the body to produce a protein that triggers an immune response. The immune system retains a memory of this protein, so if the person is later exposed to the actual virus, their body can quickly recognise and combat it.

This is the first time a vaccine has been created to potentially combat RSV and hMPV together, both of which can cause severe infection and painful symptoms.

The Rhyme study is looking to enrol approximately 60 paediatric participants between five and eight months old, across seven sites in the UK. Each participant will receive three injections, 56 days apart and the total length of participation is expected to be approximately 24 months.

The sites participating in the trial are:

  • Norfolk and Norwich University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
  • Alder Hey Children’s NHS Foundation Trust
  • Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust
  • St George’s University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
  • Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
  • University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust
  • University Hospitals Bristol and Weston NHS Foundation Trust

This research is being sponsored by Moderna.

The Rhyme study is supported by the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) Clinical Research Network Thames Valley and South Midlands. This study has been reviewed and approved by the Health and Social Care Research Ethics Committee.

For further information and to participate visit: Rhyme | Trials – Oxford Vaccine Group or email: or telephone: 01603 288234.

Notes to Editors:

  • The trial is being undertaken through the Moderna/UK Strategic Partnership, which has further developed the UK’s mRNA vaccine manufacturing capabilities and is building resilience to future health emergencies. Under the 10-year partnership, Moderna has committed substantial investment to research and development, which includes running a large number of clinical trials, such as this one, in the UK.