Vaccine Immunity, Breakthrough, Re-infection: ANtibodies and T cells (VIBRANT)

Project summary:

Whether or not there is lasting immunity to COVID-19, induced by either vaccination or natural exposure, is a critical outstanding question in this pandemic. It is likely that SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19 is established in the human population forever. The only true route back to pre-pandemic life is to understand what protective immunity is and how to generate it without causing many thousands of deaths in the process. If the current vaccines deployed in the UK fail to generate sufficient lasting immunity to either interrupt transmission or take the burden off acute health services, it will be essential to study which measurable immune factors correlate with protection, including in the high-risk groups. This knowledge will form the basis of second-generation vaccine design and implementation policies, and will also inform future lockdown, shielding and vaccination policy, by identifying who is protected from re-infection and who is not.

A key component to developing this evidence base is understanding why some people experience breakthrough infections after vaccination, two or more infections or fail to mount an immune response following vaccination or natural infection.  VIBRANT will investigate these cases for known and unknown underlying health conditions through a clinical health screening questionnaire and clinical sampling. VIBRANT will also investigate immune and genomic signatures that are associated with vaccine failure. To do this VIBRANT will integrate with several national platform studies (UK-CIC, SIREN, ISARIC4C/PHOSP, COG-UK, and HICC) which are collectively addressing the question of whether immune responses contribute to protection against asymptomatic infection and severe disease upon re-exposure to SARS-CoV-2.


UK Research and Innovation

Leader researcher:

Professor Alex Richter

Lead institution:

The University of Oxford

Vaccine type:


Recruitment for clinical trial open: