Britain launches world’s first-ever Covid-19 booster dose trial
People leave a mobile vaccination bus after receiving their Covid-19 vaccines at the ESSA academy in Bolton (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
BRITAIN has launched the world’s first-ever Covid-19 booster shot trials today with nearly 3000 volunteers to explore if giving a third dose would be safe and effective in extending immune protection against COVID-19.
The trial is backed by £19.3 million government funding and will be the first in the world to provide vital data on the impact of the third dose on patients’ immune response. Initial findings of the trial are expected in September.
“The data from this world-first clinical trial will help shape the plans for our booster program later this year,” said Matt Hancock, the health secretary. “I urge everyone who has had both doses of a Covid-19 vaccine, and is eligible, to sign up for this study and play a part in protecting the most vulnerable people in this country and around the world for months and years to come.”
The officials are said to be planning for the possibility of a booster vaccination campaign before the winter sets in after immunizing the whole adult population by summer this year.
The vaccines being evaluated in the trial are the vaccines that are already being rolled out in Britain, along with the ones from Johnson & Johnson, Novavax, Valneva, and CureVac for which the country has future supply deals. The booster will be given as third shots to people who have already received two doses of Pfizer or AstraZeneca’s vaccine.
Saul Faust, a professor of pediatric immunology and infectious diseases at Britain’s Southampton University who is co-leading the trial, said the findings would help vaccination strategy planners and politicians to decide “whether to boost anybody with a third at all or – if they are going to get a booster – which vaccine might be used.”
Major vaccine makers have often suggested that a booster dose or an annual Covid-19 vaccine might be needed for better protection. However, many scientists have reportedly raised questions on when or whether such shots are needed.