Hospital staff are being urgently recruited to test a possible coronavirus vaccine.
They will join an Oxford University trial looking at the effects of the vaccine on different groups of people.
The Newcastle Hospitals trust is also one of five chosen to trial possible new treatments, including for Covid-19.
Honorary consultant in infectious diseases Dr Christopher Duncan said using “high exposure” volunteers would produce quicker results.
“If we focus on people who maybe are at higher risk of exposure to coronavirus we’ll get a signal of whether or not the vaccine is working sooner,” Dr Duncan said.
There are more than 100 vaccines in development but the Oxford University trial, which began in April, is one of the most high profile.
The Newcastle trust said it was “looking to urgently recruit around 500 people who are more likely to be exposed to coronavirus”.
They would include doctors, nurses, health care assistants, porters, cleaners, care home workers and receptionists, it said.
More than 10,000 people will eventually be enrolled in the study.
Pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca said it had orders for at least 400 million doses and would begin delivering them in September if the trial was successful.
Newcastle has also been selected as one of five sites to share £7m of funding from the National Institute for Health Research to run trials on a number of treatments, including for Covid-19.
Clinical director Prof Yan Yiannakou said the Newcastle Hospitals unit would especially study preventative treatments.
“But also, once we’re over the pandemic, we’ll be looking at treating other conditions that are important to our local community,” he said.