The British public is being urged to take part in the worlds first clinical trials to find out whether a third dose of Covid vaccine could protect against new variants.
The Cov-Boost study will trial seven COVID-19 vaccines and will be the first to provide data on the impact of a third jab.
They will be tested on working-age guinea pigs and over-75s as part of a randomised trial.
BBC reports: The findings will help vaccine advisers decide if re-vaccinating some people in the autumn is necessary.
More than 20 million people have been fully vaccinated- with two doses of a Covid vaccine- since the UK’s vaccination programme started, but it’s still not clear how long protection lasts.
Offering some groups a third dose to boost protection from coronavirus ahead of winter has been suggested – but not confirmed.
The Cov-Boost study, which starts in June, will recruit 3,000 people of all ages who had their first dose in December or January, to test if this is worthwhile.
“It could be that some age groups may not need a booster and others do,” said Prof Saul Faust, chief investigator for the trial, from the University of Southampton.
“We are not trying to say one is better than the other.
“The aim is to find out whether there should be a booster campaign and which vaccine to use,” he said.
Prof Faust said he was not expecting any vaccines to be “detrimental” but some could cause high fevers or very sore arms, for example, which would be useful to know.
The vaccines will be trialled at 18 sites across the UK, and half doses will also be tested.
The full list of sites is: Southampton, London (University College Hospital, Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospital and Northwick Park Harrow), Leicester, Bournemouth, Portsmouth, Wrexham, Bradford, Oxford, Glasgow, Leeds, Cambridge, Birmingham, Brighton, Stockport, Liverpool and Exeter.