New study examining effect of COVID vaccine on impaired immune system to start soon

WION Web Team
London, United Kingdom Published: Mar 03, 2021, 11.43 AM(IST)

Patients with cancer, arthritis, kidney or liver diseases are among those likely to have adverse side effects. Photograph:( Reuters )

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Scientists believe patients with cancer, inflammatory arthritis, kidney or liver diseases or those having a stem cell transplant have higher chances of experiencing severe side effects

The coronavirus has taken millions of lives all over the world and the introduction of vaccines has brought a ray of hope. However, as more and more people are getting vaccinated, several complications are now being highlighted.

While some are questioning the efficacy and possible side effects of vaccines on people aged above 65, experts are now also looking at studying the effect of vaccines on patients with certain immunosuppressed conditions.

Scientists believe patients with cancer, inflammatory arthritis, kidney or liver diseases or those having a stem cell transplant have higher chances of experiencing severe side effects and complications of coronavirus.

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Such conditions and treatments may further weaken their immune system and make them more vulnerable to the deadly coronavirus. This is also one of the main reasons why such patients have been prioritised for being vaccinated against COVID-19.

While people suffering from such diseases are being vaccinated, experts believe that there is not enough evidence to suggest that people with such conditions may not have optimal protection.

"We urgently need to understand if patient populations with chronic conditions such as cancer, inflammatory arthritis and kidney and liver disease are likely to be well-protected by current COVID-19 vaccines," said leader of the study Professor Iain McInnes, of the University of Glasgow.

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Following this, the new Octave trial is based on understanding the effectiveness of coronavirus vaccines on such patients.

"The Octave study will give us invaluable new data to help us answer questions of this kind from our patients and their families," McInnes said.

The research is being funded by the Medical Research Council (MRC) and will involve groups from the Universities of Glasgow, Birmingham, Oxford, Liverpool, Imperial College London and Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust.

For the purpose of data collection, the research will focus on the effectiveness of the coronavirus vaccine jabs being administered to nearly 5,000 patients in the UK in 2021.

Researchers will look into the COVID-19 immune response of these patients using several state-of-the-art immune tests on blood samples of the patients, which will be taken before and after the vaccine jabs.

"This study is investigating the response to the new COVID-19 vaccines in people whose immune systems make them more vulnerable to Covid-19 and other infections," Professor Fiona Watt, executive chair of the Medical Research Council said. "This will help ensure that those more at risk from infection receive the best protection possible."

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