While 49% of Americans got their first dose of vaccine, there is much worry regarding the impacts of COVID-19 variants. Along with aggressively vaccinating the citizens, the US has begun coronavirus booster vaccine studies.
The National Institutes of Health started an early testing phase to see how the booster vaccines are working in adults. They aim to understand immune responses and how safe the booster doses are. The study will also prove if at all the booster vaccines are necessary or not.
NIAID funded this study and involved around 150 adults. The volunteers have received their regular doses of vaccines already. Some of them have taken shots of Pfizer, some of Moderna, while the rest of Johnson & Johnson.
Dr. Anthony Fauci stated that the vaccines currently authorized by FDA offer strong protection against the deadly disease. However, it is crucial to see if a booster shot can counter the mutating viruses.
It is essential to understand that the vaccines for coronavirus were manufactured keeping the original strain in mind. Thus, not all vaccines can be productive against mutating viruses.
Fauci stated that the report from these trials would help people understand the potential of mixed vaccine schedules. It will reveal if booster shots are necessary or not.
How is Coronavirus booster vaccine study panned out?
Every vaccine team will have around 25 people between the age of 18 to 55. Another team will have approximately 25 people who are more than 56 years old. These people will get a booster dose around 3-5 months after complete vaccination (two doses). The booster dose is of Moderna, and study arms can be added since FDA has granted emergency dosage for variant-specific vaccines, ready for trials according to NIH.
People who have not got both doses of vaccine can join this trial in another group later. For now, NIH allowed booster shots of Moderna vaccine only. The volunteers will receive a booster shot 12 to 20 weeks after complete vaccination.
Investigators of the trial will follow up with all volunteers for the following year. They will record the potential side effects and benefits. They will also have to submit blood samples for tracking immune responses against COVID-19 variants. If anyone gets infected, they will be monitored to check the variant type and impact of the disease. NIH will have preliminary results by late summers.