Oxford Immunotec’s T-SPOT Discovery SARS-CoV-2 test kit is set to be used for T cell testing in the UK Com-Cov trial, which is evaluating different combinations of approved COVID-19 vaccines.

The Com-Cov study will be the first in the world to evaluate the effects of using different vaccines for the first and second dose within a two-dose vaccination regimen.

It will be run by the National Immunisation Schedule Evaluation Consortium (NISEC) across eight National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) supported sites.

The first stage of the programme has recruited 830 participants already and has recently expanded to include a second stage recruiting an additional 1,050 participants aged over 50 years old.

The vaccines included in this study include AstraZeneca/Oxford University, Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna and Novavax’s respective vaccines.

A custom version of the T-SPOT Discovery kit will be used to assess if the vaccination combinations induce a T cell response in study participants.

According to Oxford Immunotec, using T cells to test for an immune response may offer ‘several advantages’ over conventional antibody testing, due to the reported limitations of antibody testing.

In previous studies, the T-SPOT Discovery SARS-CoV-2 test has demonstrated that a high SARS-CoV-2 specific T cell response may be associated with protection from COVID-19 infection.

“We are proud to be partnering with the Oxford Vaccine Group on this critical clinical trial,” said Peter Wrighton-Smith, chief executive officer of Oxford Immunotec.

“Measuring the T cell response in a standardised way is vital for a complete understanding of the immune response to vaccines and will help drive the understanding of the most effective immunisation programme,” he added.