World-first trial that included Portsmouth volunteers reveals which Covid vaccines are safe and effective as boosters

VOLUNTEERS who signed up for a world-first study at a research centre in Portsmouth have been thanked after ‘encouraging’ results showed which Covid vaccines could be used as boosters.

Friday, 3rd December 2021, 4:34 pm

The UK-wide Cov-boost trial, for which the Portsmouth Research Hub was a key player, has revealed six different vaccines to be safe and effective as boosters after two doses of either AstraZeneca or Pfizer.

Run at 18 National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) supported sites, the study saw 2,878 people aged 30 or over recruited – with 148 signing up at the John Pounds Centre in Portsea.

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Members of the team at the Portsmouth Research Centre, which is based at the John Pounds Centre

Participants received one of seven boosters, 10 to 12 weeks after their initial two-dose vaccination.

The study found all seven vaccines boosted levels of spike protein antibodies significantly after two doses of AstraZeneca.

However, only six also did so after two doses of Pfizer – AstraZeneca, Pfizer, Moderna, Novavax, Janssen and CureVac.

Dr Alexander Hicks, local investigator of the trial at Portsmouth Research Hub and consultant respiratory physician, said: ‘We would like to thank every person who took part in the Cov-Boost trial here at the Portsmouth Research Hub. The team have been overwhelmed at the support from the local community, who have been an integral part of Covid-19 research in the last 18 months.

Retired radiographer Kate Hedger, from Fareham, was one of the volunteers who participated in the trial at Portsmouth Research Hub.

‘As we continue with our research into Covid-19 and research across other specialities, we hope the community continues to join us in taking part in trials which help improve healthcare locally and beyond.’

Retired radiographer Kate Hedger was one of the volunteers who participated in the trial at Portsmouth Research Hub.

She left the NHS in June 2021 and wanted to continue supporting the pandemic response.

The 62-year-old from Fareham said: ‘I found out about the study from my local news programme.

‘As a healthcare professional I had my Covid-19 vaccinations quite early on so I thought I might be eligible to take part.

‘It sounds really cliche to say but I wanted to do my bit, I wanted the trial to be a success.

‘I didn’t want to retire and have no knowledge of what’s going on and I felt that being a part of this trial helped with this.’

She added: ‘It was nice to be given the opportunity to take part in the trial and I feel so proud of it all being local to me.’

Cov-boost samples have been made available to UK Health Security Agency for testing against the Omicron variant.

Professor Saul Faust, trial lead and director of the NIHR facility in Southampton, said: ‘We will be looking at the longer-term immune responses in Cov-boost, conducting further tests at three months and one year after receiving boosters.’

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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