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Volunteers needed for 4th dose booster study launching in Bournemouth

Bournemouth and Poole residents are being invited to take part in a 4th dose booster study evaluating a new COVID-19 vaccine to target the Omicron variant.

This latest research is part of the COV-BOOST trial led by University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust (UHS), which provided the world’s first data on the safety, immune responses and side-effects of different COVID-19 vaccines when given as a third dose in mix and match schedules.

Funded by the Vaccine Taskforce (VTF) and the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR), the COV-BOOST trial was key to shaping the UK’s 2021 autumn booster programme and continues to provide vital evidence for global vaccination efforts.

The new study, opening today, will take place at the Dorset Clinical Research Centre, part of University Hospitals Dorset NHS Foundation Trust. 34 local volunteers are needed to take part.

Half of the volunteers taking part in the study will receive a 4th booster dose of Moderna’s new bivalent vaccine, which has been designed to target both the original and Omicron variants of COVID-19. The other half will receive a 4th booster dose of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine, which was designed to target the original COVID-19 variant.

Volunteers will be randomly allocated to each arm of the study and will not know which jab they receive. The study is looking to evaluate the immune responses and safety of the new bivalent jab.

The study is open to people living in and around Bournemouth and Poole who have:

  • Had either Pfizer/Pfizer, AstraZeneca/AstraZeneca or Moderna/Moderna as their first 2 vaccines
  • Already received a 3rd booster dose of either Pfizer-BioNTech (BNT162b2) or half (booster) dose Moderna (mRNA-1273) COVID-19 vaccines at least 3 months (84 days) ago

Volunteers must also:

  • Be aged 30 years old or above
  • Have not tested positive for COVID-19 on a PCR, lateral flow test, or saliva test in the last 3 months (84 days)

The study, which will recruit a total of 200 volunteers from 6 research sites across England, will last up to 8 months. During this time, volunteers will be monitored for any potential side effects and will attend 5 research site visits.

Volunteers will be provided with reimbursement of up to £225 for their time, inconvenience and travel, depending on the total number of study visits they attend.

Anyone interested in taking part can visit the study’s website to find out more and complete a questionnaire to check if they’re eligible:

Dr Patrick Moore, Dorset GP and local investigator for the trial at the Dorset Clinical Research Centre, said:

“We’re excited to be supporting another COVID-19 vaccine trial, this time looking at the safety and effectiveness of Moderna’s new bivalent vaccine targeting both the original and Omicron variant.

“We’re looking for volunteers aged 30 and over, living in and around Bournemouth and Poole, to take part in the trial. If you received your third dose of a COVID-19 vaccine at least three months 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 support our work.

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

Professor Saul Faust, Chief Investigator of the COV-BOOST trial and Director of the NIHR Southampton Clinical Research Facility (CRF) at University Hospital Southampton, said:

“In the UK, the different Omicron coronavirus variants are now the most common causing COVID-19. Due to mutations on the spike protein, they are more capable than previous variants of evading the immune response generated by existing COVID-19 vaccines.

“With this important new study, we want to determine the side effect profile, safety and immune responses of Moderna’s new bivalent vaccine, which targets both the original and Omicron variants of COVID-19, compared to Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine, when used as a fourth booster dose.

“We are looking for 200 volunteers, aged 30 and over, across England to help us with the next phase of the COV-BOOST trial. Throughout the pandemic, the public have continued to step forward and support our research and we cannot thank them enough for giving up their time. I would encourage anyone interested in our latest trial to visit the website to find out more and sign up.”