Oxford scientists launch new vaccine trial to improve Covid and flu jabs

It's hoped the findings will improve vaccine design for different age groups. Credit: PA

Oxford scientists have launched a new vaccine trial to develop Covid-19 and flu jabs.

The study, led by the Oxford Vaccine Group at the University of Oxford, will look at how lymph nodes work and how they respond to vaccines in younger and older people.

It's hoped the findings will improve vaccine design for different age groups.

The university says immune systems change as we age and therefore so does our response to vaccines.

It means the risk of complications from infections like flu and Covid-19 increase.

The university wants to understand the changes so vaccinations can better protect people.

The Oxford/AstraZeneca Covid vaccine Credit: PA

Dr Katrina Pollock, MRC Clinician Scientist in Vaccinology at the Oxford Vaccine Group, Department of Paediatrics, said: “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: The first major challenge is 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.

"The second major challenge is making vaccines for targets that rapidly evolve, like COVID-19 and HIV.

"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.”

Oxford vaccine Credit: ITV Meridian

The £1.95 million funding boost has come from the Medical Research Council which is part of UK Research and Innovation.

The scientists will be based in the Centre for Clinical Vaccinology and Tropical Medicine, at the Churchill Hospital in Oxford. 

The team is looking for volunteers aged between aged 18 to 45 or 65 years and over at the time of screening and participants will enrol for three months.

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