COVIG (COvid-19 Immune Vaccine Immune Genetics) An immunogenetic approach to guide the need for booster shots and combat immune failure in SARS-CoV-2 vaccine response

Project summary:

This research aims to study people’s response to SARS-COV-2 vaccines by looking at how a person’s genes are related to their immune response to the vaccine. This is important as some people’s immune system does not respond to vaccination as well as others.

In this new study, we will investigate whether heritable factors are important in determining our antibody response to vaccination. We plan to recruit people with higher or lower antibody levels after vaccination, and look for genetic factors that are associated with this. To do this we will be inviting people to be part of this new study who have previously participated in the separate COVID-19 Infection Survey, run by the Office for National Statistics in partnership with the University of Oxford.

This work will help us understand how and why some people have different antibody levels after vaccination. Currently we do not know exactly what having different levels of antibodies means in terms of how well people are protected against getting COVID-19, and why people should vary in their antibody response. We hope that if we can understand more about the genetic background of people with different kinds of antibody response to vaccine it will help us and others to design optimal booster strategies and inform vaccine policy and rollout.

We will also assess vaccine response in the context of the ChADOx1 nCoV-10/AZD1222 clinical trials, investigating genetic determinants and the impact of booster vaccination in poor vaccine responder individuals. This will include in depth systems immunology profiling to determine whether booster dose vaccination can mitigate a dampened immune response and immune correlates of this.


Medical Research Council

Leader researcher:

Professor Julian Knight

Lead institution:

University of Oxford

Vaccine type:


Recruitment for clinical trial open: