Moderna seeking 3,000 UK volunteers to trial new Omicron Covid booster vaccine

Up to 29 hospitals in England, Scotland and Wales will take part in the trial led by a team St George’s, University of London

UK volunteers will be among the first in the world to trial a new Omicron-specific Covid-19 vaccine.

Around 3,000 people are being sought to take part in a new study for Moderna’s Omicron booster jab, which is one of the world’s first to tackle the variant.

Around 3,000 people are being sought to take part in the study (Photo: Getty Images)

Where will the trial take place?

The trial will be held at various sites across the UK thanks to a partnership between Moderna and the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR).

Up to 29 hospitals in England, Scotland and Wales are expected to take part, with the trial lasting up to 13 months.

Half of the volunteers will be given the new Moderna Omicron variant jab, while the other half will be vaccinated with the regular Moderna Covid vaccine.

It is already known that immunity against coronavirus wanes several months after a booster dose, so more clinical trials are needed to determine if a forth jab is needed.

The study, led by a team based at based at St George’s, University of London, will also seek to recruit people who have had just two doses of a vaccine and not yet received a booster.

A separate COV-Boost sub-study will also run to compare using Moderna’s Omicron variant vaccine as a fourth dose with a standard dose of the Pfizer jab.

Health and Social Care Secretary, Sajid Javid, said: “The UK is a world leader when it comes to the research and development of vaccines and medicines, bolstered by our renowned life sciences industry.

“It’s fantastic to see these capabilities being put to good use, with almost 3,000 people expected to take part in this important clinical trial. I want this country to be the best place in the world to launch clinical trials.

“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.”

Moderna has already started a trial of the Omicron vaccine in the US and Pfizer is also about to launch a clinical trial of its own vaccine targeted at the highly infectious variant.

Stephane Bancel, chief executive officer of Moderna, said: “The UK and NIHR have been pioneering in their work to study vaccines and therapeutics throughout the global pandemic and have built up world-class clinical research capabilities.

“This is the first Moderna-sponsored Phase 3 study to be conducted outside of the US with our Omicron-specific booster candidate and we appreciate the collaboration with the NIHR.

“We thank the clinical trial teams and the participants in the study for helping to advance our understanding of this booster candidate.”

How do I volunteer?

Volunteers must not have tested positive for Covid-19 since the beginning of November 2021 to be eligible to take part.

They must be aged 16 or over and have previously had two or three doses of a coronavirus vaccine.

The last vaccine dose must have been received at least three months before joining the study, which is recruiting for the next four weeks.

The study will evaluate the immune response and safety of the variant jab.

Those who want to take part can sign up online.

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