Core protocol for the adaptive Platform Trial In COVID-19 Vaccine priming and BOOsting (PICOBOO)

C. McLeod, J. Ramsay, K. L. Flanagan, M. Plebanski, H. Marshall, M. Dymock, J. Marsh, M. J. Estcourt, U. Wadia, P. C.M. Williams, M. C. Tjiam, C. Blyth, K. Subbarao, S. Nicholson, S. Faust, R. B. Thornton, A. Mckenzie, T. L. Snelling, P. Richmond

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1 Citation (Scopus)


Background: The need for coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) vaccination in different age groups and populations is a subject of great uncertainty and an ongoing global debate. Critical knowledge gaps regarding COVID-19 vaccination include the duration of protection offered by different priming and booster vaccination regimens in different populations, including homologous or heterologous schedules; how vaccination impacts key elements of the immune system; how this is modified by prior or subsequent exposure to severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) and future variants; and how immune responses correlate with protection against infection and disease, including antibodies and effector and T cell central memory. Methods: The Platform Trial In COVID-19 priming and BOOsting (PICOBOO) is a multi-site, multi-arm, Bayesian, adaptive, randomised controlled platform trial. PICOBOO will expeditiously generate and translate high-quality evidence of the immunogenicity, reactogenicity and cross-protection of different COVID-19 priming and booster vaccination strategies against SARS-CoV-2 and its variants/subvariants, specific to the Australian context. While the platform is designed to be vaccine agnostic, participants will be randomised to one of three vaccines at trial commencement, including Pfizer’s Comirnaty, Moderna’s Spikevax or Novavax’s Nuvaxovid COVID-19 vaccine. The protocol structure specifying PICOBOO is modular and hierarchical. Here, we describe the Core Protocol, which outlines the trial processes applicable to all study participants included in the platform trial. Discussion: PICOBOO is the first adaptive platform trial evaluating different COVID-19 priming and booster vaccination strategies in Australia, and one of the few established internationally, that is designed to generate high-quality evidence to inform immunisation practice and policy. The modular, hierarchical protocol structure is intended to standardise outcomes, endpoints, data collection and other study processes for nested substudies included in the trial platform and to minimise duplication. It is anticipated that this flexible trial structure will enable investigators to respond with agility to new research questions as they arise, such as the utility of new vaccines (such as bivalent, or SARS-CoV-2 variant-specific vaccines) as they become available for use. Trial registration: Australian and New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry ACTRN12622000238774. Registered on 10 February 2022.
Original languageEnglish
Article number202
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2023


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