Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

Tech & Science

New vaccine trial designed to boost flu and COVID-19 vaccines

Scientists are seeking to improve understanding of the immune system in people and to respond to the challenges in adult vaccinology.

A smallpox vaccine from Danish drug maker Bavarian Nordic has also been found to protect against monkeypox
A smallpox vaccine from Danish drug maker Bavarian Nordic has also been found to protect against monkeypox - Copyright POOL/AFP/File ALAIN JOCARD
A smallpox vaccine from Danish drug maker Bavarian Nordic has also been found to protect against monkeypox - Copyright POOL/AFP/File ALAIN JOCARD

A new research strand sets out to test the responses of cells in lymph nodes before and after immunisation with influenza and COVID-19 vaccines. The study will compare the reactions in older and younger adults.

The study into human immunity is called LEGACY03 and it has the potential to improve vaccine design for different age groups significantly. The reason for focusing on the lymph nodes is because after a vaccine is given in the arm, white blood cells go to the site of the injection and they take some of the vaccine back to the lymph nodes in the armpit. This is where the response happens.

Specifically, the research will measure how lymph nodes respond to vaccines and how this reaction changes as we age. It is hoped the results will contribute to future vaccine design which will offer greater protection to those most vulnerable to diseases such as flu and COVID-19 and also those better suited for younger people.

The project is being led by Dr Katrina Pollock, MRC Clinician Scientist in Vaccinology at the Oxford Vaccine Group, based at the Department of Paediatrics, at the University of Oxford, using some £1.95 million funding from the Medical Research Council/UK Research and Innovation.

Currently the study is looking to enrol volunteers aged either between 18 to 45 years, or 65 years and over at the time of screening. Participants need to enrol for 3 months. The reason for focusing on this age ranges is because as we age, our immune system changes and with it our response to vaccines.

Consequently, the risk of complications from infections like flu and COVID-19 also increases and it is therefore important for medics to understand these changes so that vaccinations can be better tailored for maximum efficacy to protect the most vulnerable.

Speaking of the research Katrina Pollock says: “As part of my work as a clinician scientist I was keen to improve understanding of the immune system in people and to respond to the challenges in adult vaccinology which are predominantly two-fold.”

Pollock breaks these down into:

  1. The diversity of responses to vaccines in different people, particularly the most vulnerable like older adults or those living with conditions that affect immune function.
  2. Making vaccines for targets that rapidly evolve, like COVID-19 and HIV.

Pollock continues: “This study will take an innovative look at individual immune responses using vaccinations as a tool to investigate human immunity at the cellular level. This will help us to tailor future vaccine design to get a better outcome for patients across the board. It has the potential to impact patients for the better and that is what drives my research.”

Avatar photo
Written By

Dr. Tim Sandle is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for science news. Tim specializes in science, technology, environmental, business, and health journalism. He is additionally a practising microbiologist; and an author. He is also interested in history, politics and current affairs.

You may also like:

Tech & Science

This is how to make the clutter look neat, and the neatness bearable.

Entertainment

Actor Jo Weil ("Verbotene Liebe") chatted about his latest projects and his new novel.

World

The assassination attempt on Donald Trump has upended Joe Biden's campaign by forcing it to dial down attacks.

World

A Military Police officer patrols a street in the Cidade de Deus (City of God) favela inRio de Janeiro - Copyright AFP/File Rebecca DROKESome...