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A study of Covid-19 vaccines which recruited volunteers from Stockport has found that they are safe and boost immunity for people who have had two doses of either the AstraZeneca or Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines.
The world-first and UK-wide COV-BOOST trial, which recruited volunteers at Stockport NHS Foundation Trust, was key to shaping the UK booster programme and gives vital evidence for global vaccination efforts. The study, led by University Hospital Southampton, has had its latest results published in the Lancet.
COV-BOOST looked at the safety, immune responses and side-effects of seven vaccines when used as a third, booster jab.
A total of 148 volunteers joined the study at Stockport’s Stepping Hill Hospital. The Cheadle Hulme Medical Group and Research for the Future team based at Salford assisted the Stockport NHS Foundation Trust’s research and innovation team in recruiting the volunteers.
Run at 18 National Institute for Health Research-supported sites, the study saw 2,878 people aged 30 or over recruited. Participants received one of these boosters 10-12 weeks after their initial two-dose vaccination with either AstraZeneca or Pfizer-BioNTech. A control group was given a meningitis vaccine, to account for reactions not specific to the COVID-19 jabs.
The seven vaccines trialled were:
Of these, only AstraZeneca, Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna are currently licensed for use in the UK. Half-doses of Pfizer-BioNtech, Novavax and Valneva were also tested.
Professor Saul Faust, trial lead and Director of the NIHR Clinical Research Facility, University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust (UHS), said:
“It’s really encouraging that a wide range of vaccines, using different technologies, show benefits as a booster dose to either of these vaccines. That gives confidence and flexibility in developing booster programmes here and globally, with other factors like supply chain and logistics also in play.”
Professor Andrew Ustianowski, National Clinical Lead for the UK NIHR COVID Vaccine Research Programme, and Deputy Clinical Director of NIHR Clinical Research Network Greater Manchester, said:
“Heading into the winter, and due to the emergence of the Omicron, the results from the Cov-Boost study are extremely timely and of national and international importance.Since the beginning of the pandemic the National Institute for Health Research and the NHS have been supported by the efforts and selflessness of study participants – helping us to identify the most effective vaccines and how they can be used flexibly to protect more people.”
Dr David Baxter, Principal Investigator for the trial at Stockport NHS Foundation Trust, said:
“We are delighted to have played our role in this trial which has confirmed six separate vaccines as being both safe and effective in boosting people’s immunity against COVID-19. The current widespread use of the Pfizer booster is working well, but it is good to see that with more vaccinations confirmed as safe and effective, we will have more options for boosters in the future. I’d like to thank everyone who was involved in the trial, including all the participants and our excellent vaccination team,
who have all worked together in this latest front of the fight against coronavirus.”
COV-BOOST was designed so that stored samples can used in evaluating these vaccines’ effectiveness in neutralising any new variants of concern, and COV-BOOST samples have been made available to UKHSA for testing against Omicron.