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Medicine

New study to test third COVID-19 vaccine for people with weakened immune systems

Published: 1 October 2021

Southampton researchers are co-leading a new clinical trial to determine whether a third COVID-19 vaccine will boost the immune response for people who have weakened immune systems.

The OCTAVE DUO trial will recruit 1,200 patients across the UK and opened in Southampton last month with the support of the Southampton NIHR Wellcome Trust Clinical Research Facility.

People who are immunosuppressed or immunocompromised will be offered a Pfizer, Moderna or Novavax vaccine to determine whether it will give a stronger immune response than two doses.

The £2.2 million study will build on the OCTAVE trial, which recently published preliminary data today showing that 89% of people who are immunocompromised or immunosuppressed generate antibodies following vaccination, and 60% generated a strong antibody response following two doses of a vaccine.

However, 40% of people in these groups mounted a low, or undetectable, immune response after two doses, and the level of antibody response varies between the groups studied.

Dr Sean Lim, Associate Professor and Honorary Consultant in Haematological Oncology at the University of Southampton, is co-lead for the lymphoid malignancy cohort of the OCTAVE-DUO study.  The study is co-funded by the government’s Vaccines Taskforce and UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) and led by the University of Glasgow and University of Birmingham.

It will analyse the immune response to the vaccine and the durability of the protection. It will also use healthcare records to determine whether any participants are later diagnosed with COVID-19.

The results will be instrumental in informing how to best vaccinate immuncompromised patients and provide protection from COVID-19 infection.

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