Scientists from the University of Glasgow and the University of Birmingham have been examining the efficiency of COVID-19 vaccines in patients that are clinically vulnerable as a part of their ongoing Octave study.
They analysed blood samples from 600 patients to find out which health conditions had the lowest antibody levels. Their findings revealed that patients with immune-mediated inflammatory diseases like cancer, inflammatory arthritis, and liver disease could have lower immune responses to the vaccine compared to healthy individuals.
The team published their initial results on the University of Birmingham website and outlined the conditions based on the percentage of patients who had the lower antibody reactivity. It goes as follows:
- 90% of patients with Antineutrophil Cytoplasmic Antibody (ANCA)-Associated Vasculitis (AAV) who are undergoing treatment with Rituximab. This is an autoimmune disease that results in ‘destruction and inflammation of small vessels'.
- 51% and 54% of patients who have inflammatory arthritis and liver disease, respectively.
- 17% of those diagnosed with solid cancer and an additional 39% of those with blood cancer (Haematological malignancies).
- 21% of those undergoing Haemodialysis and 42% of the same who are receiving immunosuppressive therapy.
- 33% of patients who have undergone a bone marrow transplant.
Examining the booster jab
While the study does show that two doses may not be sufficient to protect the clinically vulnerable against COVID, scientists have agreed that they are proving to be effective for the larger, healthier population. In the meantime, The Mirror reported that a new study called Octave Duo has been started to find out whether a third jab will boost immune responses. Professor Pam Kearns, Director of the University of Birmingham’s Cancer Research UK Trials Unit, said:
These preliminary results of OCTAVE and the results of our continuing and forthcoming research will be instrumental in helping inform how best to vaccinate patients with chronic conditions and protect them from COVID-19 infection in the future.