'World first' Covid booster trial launching at Northwick Park Hospital

The Oxford University vaccine to build immunity against coronavirus is advancing

The Covid vaccine is being rolled out in Brent - Credit: PA

Volunteers will soon be able to receive a third booster Covid-19 vaccine through a new clinical trial at Northwick Park Hospital.

The COV-Boost study, backed by £19.3 million of government funding through the Vaccines Taskforce, will be open at the Watford Road hospital — part of London North West University Healthcare (LNWUH) NHS Trust.

It is being led by University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust and will be the first in the world to provide vital data on the impact of a third dose on patients’ immune responses.

General view of Northwick Park Hospital as staff in England and Northern Ireland to go on strike, No

General view of Northwick Park Hospital - Credit: PA

Dr Alastair McGregor, principal investigator of the study at Northwick Park, said: “I’m delighted that Northwick Park has been chosen as a site for COV-Boost.

"This important study will look at the effect of boosting people who have already been vaccinated against COVID-19 with a variety of new and existing vaccines.

“The study will generate data that will inform vaccine policy going forward and is also an excellent opportunity for the people of northwest London to get involved in research and help bring the pandemic under control.”

The trial will look at seven different Covid-19 vaccines as potential boosters, given at least 10 to 12 weeks after a second dose.

Each volunteer will be given one booster that could be a different brand to the one they were originally vaccinated with.

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Vaccines being trialled include Oxford/AstraZeneca, Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna, Novavax, Valneva, Janssen and Curevac, as well as a control group.

About 2,886 participants are being recruited through the NHS COVID-19 Vaccine Research Registry, with vaccinations set to start in June at 16 sites across the UK. 

Participants will be aged 30 years or older and will include those immunised early on in the vaccination programme - for example, adults aged 75 and over or health and care workers. 

All participants will be monitored throughout the study for any potential side effects and will have bloods taken to measure their immune responses at days 28, 84, 308 and 365, with a small number having additional blood tests at other times.

Volunteers will keep an electronic diary and have access to a 24 hour emergency phone number. 

The trial has received ethics approval by the NHS Research Ethics Committee, and the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency.

Nadhim Zahawi, minister for Covid-19 vaccine deployment, said: “Having taken part in a COVID-19 vaccine clinical trial myself, I would encourage everyone eligible to volunteer – whatever your religion, ethnicity or background, it’s a fantastic opportunity to get involved with such an historic initiative.”

To volunteer visit www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/research/coronavirus-vaccine-research/