Scientists behind a major study of top-up jabs said they believe protection against severe disease will remain high, even if Omicron evades some immunity. A Moderna booster generated the best response, followed by Pfizer, but all showed a significant increase.
Professor Saul Faust, trial lead at University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust, said: “The T cell data is showing us that it does seem to be broader against all the variant strains.
“This gives us hope that a variant strain of the virus might be able to be handled, certainly for hospitalisation and death if not prevention of infection, by the current vaccines.”
Asked specifically about Omicron, Prof Faust said: “Our hope as scientists is that protection against hospitalisation and death will remain intact.”
The UK’s CovBoost study, involving 2,878 people aged 30 and over, tested a range of boosters.
The six vaccines studied were AstraZeneca, Pfizer/ BioNTech, Moderna, Novavax, Janssen and CureVac.
They were given three months after a second dose.
The research showed all six jabs were safe and led to a significant antibodies boost.
Antibody levels were up to 30 times higher in people given a booster when measured 28 days later.
Blood samples from the study have been passed to the UK Health Security Agency to test how well the Omicron variant is neutralised.
Jonathan Ball, professor of molecular virology at the University of Nottingham, said: “This is a fantastic study and it’s great to finally see the data that was no doubt pivotal in deciding the UK’s vaccine booster approach.
“We still don’t know how this increase in immunity translates into protection, especially against serious disease. But I am still convinced that our vaccines will continue to provide the protection that we need.”
The study was published in the journal Science Advances.