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University will host world’s first Covid-19 vaccine booster trials

The world’s first Covid-19 vaccine booster jab is to be administered at the University of Bradford’s cutting-edge Digital Health Enterprise Zone on June 1.

The jabs are being tested as a possible precaution against variants of the coronavirus, with the trial lasting one year.

The trial is being conducted by Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust in partnership with the University, as part of a £90m initiative sanctioned by the Department of Health & Social Care.

Nationally, the trials are being conducted at 18 sites across the UK and involve 3,000 people – 148 of those will be treated in Bradford. Volunteers will be split into two groups: 30-69 year-olds and over-69s, all of whom have already had TWO JABS of either AZ or Pfeizer. Roughly a quarter of those on the trial will receive placebos; patients will then return after 28 days and then be monitored at regular intervals.

Volunteers are still needed – anyone aged 30-69 or 69 and over and has had two doses of either the Astrazeneca vaccine (AZ) or Pfizer vaccine who wanted to volunteer can log onto www.covboost.org to find out more.

Health experts from across the world will be watching the outcome of the trials to see whether booster jabs increase the efficacy of vaccines.

Honorary Visiting Professor Dinesh Saralaya is a Respiratory Physician at Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (BTHFT) and Director of the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Patient Recruitment Centre in Bradford.

He said: “This is a significant moment for Bradford, both for the University and the hospital, and in the fight against Covid-19. These trials will provide valuable information which could help save lives.”

Last year, the DHEZ hosted trials for the Novavax vaccine.

Dr Liz Breen is Director of the Digital Health Enterprise Zone, which also hosted the Novavax vaccine trials. She said: “We’re honoured to be hosting the next wave of trials, which are the booster trials. Having this happen within a facility that’s Bradford-based will give more confidence to the community and it will build on the success of the vaccine rollout.”

Prof Alastair Goldman, Dean of the Faculty of Life Sciences, said: “The University is working tirelessly to support the Bradford community with our research in a wide range of science, engineering and health projects that will bring real benefits to the people of Bradford. This excellent collaboration between the University and Bradford Royal Infirmary is an important part of these efforts – we can’t wait to see the results, which I am sure will further highlight the importance of vaccines in fighting transmissible diseases.”

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