A clinical study has revealed that the fourth booster jab is providing a stronger level of immunity compared to the third booster dose.
The study, which is being run out of NIHR Cambridge Clinical Research Facility at Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (CUH), has showed researchers that the fourth dose mRNA vaccine is safe and boosts antibody levels.
The COV-BOOST trial is being led by University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust, who provided the first ground-breaking research detailing the safety, immunity responses and side-effects of the third covid vaccine dose.
The findings, published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases journal, could help supplement the health sector’s relentless efforts to treat people with Covid and ultimately tackle the backlog of appointments currently crippling NHS sites up and down the country.
Professor Krishna Chatterjee, Director of the NIHR Clinical Research Facility in Cambridge, who is leading the trial at CUH, said: “Our teams continue to work tirelessly to find vaccines and treatments to protect against Covid-19 and the results of the COV-BOOST study are testament to this.
"We couldn’t do it without the 230 local people who volunteered to take part in all phases of this trial either, and we thank them, along with all who are involved in ongoing research to tackle the virus as the pandemic evolves.”
The fourth dose is effective at increasing antibody and cellular immunity above both the baseline and peak levels that were observed following the third booster jab.
The latest jab is also said to cause pain at vaccination site and fatigue but with “no serious adverse events” the booster has been declared safe.
Professor Andrew Ustianowski, NIHR Clinical Lead for the Covid-19 Vaccination Programme and Joint National Infection Specialty Lead said: "The COV-BOOST study has continuously supported the UK's booster vaccination programme and had further impact on how vaccines are administered globally. The study's latest results once again show the importance of sustained research into Covid vaccines and how they are best used to keep the virus at bay.
“We knew that it was important to offer a fourth dose to those most vulnerable earlier in the year. These new study findings support that decision and provides the public with the confidence that fourth doses are both safe and even more effective than third doses at boosting immunity against Covid.
"It is thanks to the endless efforts and contribution of study participants and staff across the UK that we can keep discovering more about the use of vaccines, and they continue to play a pivotal role just as they have done throughout the pandemic."