Call for volunteers to sign up to COVID-19 Omicron variant trial as vaccine study launches in Portsmouth

VOLUNTEERS have the opportunity to take part in one of the world’s first Omicron-specific COVID-19 variant trials as a vaccine study launches in Portsmouth.

Monday, 28th March 2022, 12:44 pm
Updated Monday, 28th March 2022, 1:02 pm

Biotechnology company Moderna, Inc is working with the National Institute for Health Research for the study, which will take place at the Portsmouth Research Hub, part of

Portsmouth Hospitals University NHS Trust.

It will see around 100 local participants receive their first or second booster.

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A clinical trials assistant at the Hub, which is located at the John Pounds Centre.

The first part of the study looked into the effectiveness of a tweaked Moderna vaccine targeting the Omicron strain, whereas this part of the study will further investigate a bivalent vaccine (one which targets multiple COVID-19 variants) from Moderna.

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Half of the volunteers will receive one of Moderna’s Omicron variant vaccines and the other half will be vaccinated with the commonly used standard Moderna COVID-19 vaccine (Spikevax).

The study is open to people who have already received a booster vaccine (Moderna or Pfizer/BioNTech).

It is also open to people who are yet to receive a booster dose but have received two primary doses of either mRNA (Moderna, Pfizer/BioNTech) or non-mRNA (Oxford/AstraZeneca, Janssen) vaccines.

Volunteers must also be aged 16 years or over, have not tested positive for COVID-19 within 90 days of taking part in the study, and have had their last vaccine at least three months prior to joining the study.

Johanna Mouland, research nurse lead at Portsmouth Hospitals University NHS Trust, said: ‘We’re pleased to be supporting another COVID-19 vaccine trial at the Portsmouth Research Hub, this time looking at the safety and effectiveness of Moderna’s booster vaccine.

‘We’re proud of our role in tackling the pandemic and excited to provide another opportunity for the people of our city to support vital COVID-19 research.

‘We’re looking for volunteers aged 16 and over, living in and around Portsmouth, to take part in the trial. If you received your second or third dose of a COVID-19 vaccine at least 90 days ago, you may be eligible to take part.

‘None of the research that we have supported throughout the pandemic would have been possible without our volunteers, who have so generously given up their time to help further our research.

‘We’d encourage anyone interested in finding out more and getting involved in our latest study to visit the website and sign up.’

The study is the first commercially sponsored Moderna vaccine trial to take place in the UK, and demonstrates the appeal, support and expertise that the NIHR and other national

research organisations in the UK can provide to the life sciences industry.

This is also one of the first studies globally to be assessing the effectiveness of a fourth COVID-19 dose, and is being led by a team based at St George’s, University of London.

Participants will be monitored throughout the study for any potential side effects and will have to attend several visits.

Sajid Javid, health and social care secretary, said: ‘I urge anyone eligible to take part in this vital research and play their part in protecting the country for years to come as we learn to live with COVID-19.’

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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