A trial is being launched in Southampton to test a new needle-free Covid-19 vaccine that could give “wide-ranging protection” against variants and future coronaviruses.

The University of Southampton has developed the new vaccine which uses a jet of air to push it through the skin rather than a needle.

It comes just days after Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced his plan to get all adults jabbed with a booster by the end of the year.

Daily Echo: Saul FaustSaul Faust

Saul Faust, clinical chief investigator and director of the NIHR Southampton Clinical Research Facility, said: “This isn’t simply ‘yet another’ coronavirus vaccine as it has both Covid-19 variants and future coronaviruses in its sights.

“This technology could give wide-ranging protection to huge numbers of people worldwide.”

While most existing Covid-19 vaccines use the sequence of the RNA for the spike protein from the first samples of the virus found in January 2020, the DIOSvax technology used for the new vaccine aims to predict how the virus could mutate, allowing it to target emerging variants.

There is now a call for volunteers from the Southampton area to test the new tech. Researchers are looking for those who have had two doses of an existing vaccine, but not a booster.

They are being offered £785 to take part.

Daily Echo: The new DIOSvax needle-free vaccine being trialled at the University of SouthamptonThe new DIOSvax needle-free vaccine being trialled at the University of Southampton

Professor Jonathan Heeney, at the University of Cambridge who developed the vaccine with research company DIOSynVax, said: “As new variants emerge and immunity begins to wane we need newer technologies.

“It’s vital that we continue to develop new generation vaccine candidates ready to help keep us safe from the next virus threats.

“Our vaccine is innovative, both in terms of the way it primes the immune system to respond with a broader protective response to coronaviruses, and how it is delivered.

“Crucially, it is the first step towards a universal coronavirus vaccine we are developing, protecting us not just from Covid-19 variants but from future coronaviruses.”

Following the PM's announcement, a spokesperson for Hampshire's Clinical Commissioning Group, which is heading the vaccine rollout, said: "We would like to reassure you we will have sufficient vaccines to achieve this new target."