The UMCG and expertise center TRACER will soon start a study on the COVID-19 booster vaccine AKS-452, from the American company Akston Bioscience Corporation. The news was announced on UMCG’s website, along with a call for 600 healthy volunteers between 18 and 85 years old.
The UMCG has already conducted research on the AKS-452 vaccine in the past, testing its effects on healthy, unvaccinated people. The study revealed the vaccine in question to be safe and able to guarantee protection against the coronavirus, including against the Omicron variant.
This new study will focus on studying the effects on the immune systems of healthy volunteers of AKS-452 used as a booster shot, so on people who have already been vaccinated with Pfizer, Moderna, Janssen, or AstraZeneca.
Another aspect of the study will be investigating whether people can be protected against new variants of the coronavirus for an extended period of time, in order to prevent periodic vaccination cycles.
The Akston vaccine is not mRNA-based but instead is based on a spike protein that is fused to a protein fragment of a human antibody. The AKS-452 vaccine is also easy to transport since it doesn’t need to be stored at -80°C (like other currently used COVID-19 vaccines), thus making it a good option for countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America where low-temperature storage might be difficult.
Participants in the study will receive 500 euros each and will be injected with one dose of the AKS-452 vaccine. Researchers will then measure their anti-bodies levels regularly during the course of the study.