UK combo vaccine trial adds Moderna, Novavax to the mix

A British trial that tests whether a different COVID-19 booster jab provides better protection than one with the same brand will add two more vaccines to the mix, researchers announced today.

The Com-Cov trial has been testing whether the administration of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine after the BioNTech/Pfizer jab, and vice versa, produces broader immune responses than each jab alone.

The trial is now expanding to add vaccines from Moderna and Novavax to the mix. Anyone 50 and over who has had their first dose of the BioNTech/Pfizer or Oxford/AstraZeneca jabs can sign up, said chief investigator Matthew Snape of the University of Oxford.

Investigators want to examine responses from mixing different vaccine technologies, he added. The BioNTech/Pfizer and Moderna jabs use mRNA; AstraZeneca’s uses viral vector technology, as does the J&J vaccine. Novavax is a protein-based vaccine.

Novavax is the only vaccine in the trial that hasn’t been approved by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency, but trial data have shown “very encouraging results,” and the agency is reviewing it, Snape noted.

Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine is not being considered since it’s a one-dose regimen, he added.

Results from the first-stage of the trial are expected in May, and results from the second are due in July. Recruitment for Com-Cov2 begins on April 19.

Germany and France have already begun offering younger adults who received the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine a different mRNA booster jab, after it was linked to very rare blood clots. By contrast, the U.K. has only recommended a different booster to those who have experienced clotting-related side effects after the first dose.

Meanwhile, France has recommended a real-world study of the safety and efficacy of mixing jabs.

This article is part of POLITICO’s premium policy service: Pro Health Care. From drug pricing, EMA, vaccines, pharma and more, our specialized journalists keep you on top of the topics driving the health care policy agenda. Email pro@politico.eu for a complimentary trial. 

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