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Letters to the Editor Issue 269

by Letters(more info)

listed in letters to the editor, originally published in issue 269 - March 2021

Evidence Reveals Scalp Cooling Protects Hair from Chemotherapy

Groundbreaking research, announced ahead of World Cancer Day 2021, proves that scalp cooling physically protects hair follicles from chemotherapy drugs. It is the world’s first piece of biological evidence that explains how scalp cooling actually works and the mechanism behind its protection of the hair follicle. The study, entitled Cooling-mediated protection from chemotherapy drug-induced cytotoxicity in human keratinocytes by inhibition of cellular drug uptake, has been published in the peer-reviewed journal PLOS ONE.[1]

The data was part of an innovative hair follicle research project carried out by the dedicated Scalp Cooling Research Centre based at the University of Huddersfield. It involved the cultivation of cells isolated from human hair follicles in the lab. The £1 million Scalp Cooling Research Centre was established at the University in 2019 with the backing of Huddersfield firm Paxman  – global leaders in scalp cooling technology.

The team of experts in biology and design technology have been working together with the aim of Paxman becoming the only hair loss-preventing scalp cooling provider firmly based on biological research. It also brings the family-run business one-step closer to achieving its vision of ‘zero hair loss’ for cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy treatment.

Chemotherapy works by targeting all rapidly dividing cells in the body. Hair is the second fastest dividing cell, and this is the reason why many chemotherapy drugs cause alopecia. The hair follicles in the growth phase are attacked, resulting in hair loss approximately two weeks after the commencement of chemotherapy treatment.

Co-director of the centre and lead author of the journal article is Dr Nik Georgopoulos, a cancer expert at the University’s Department of Biological Sciences who has collaborated with Paxman since 2011.

"Scalp cooling is currently the only treatment to combat ‘chemotherapy-induced alopecia’, yet little is known about its cytoprotective effect on human hair follicles," said Dr Georgopoulos.

Before now, he explained, the most common and obvious presumption to describe how scalp cooling worked was that as the scalp is cooled, the veins become constricted thereby reducing the amount of blood flow, meaning less of the chemotherapy drug enters the hair follicle.

"However, this is a really exciting discovery because our research now shows it is not as simple as that. We were able to measure how much chemotherapy drug goes into the cultured cells from hair follicles and what we have found is that cooling actually dramatically reduces the amount of chemotherapy drug being absorbed by the rapidly-diving cells of the hair follicle," he added.

This means there is now evidence for the first time, which demonstrates cooling has a direct effect on reducing the amount of drug that goes in and is not an indirect effect as thought before with the restricted blood flow.

"Our results provide evidence that attenuation of cellular drug uptake represents at least one of the mechanisms underpinning the ability of cooling to rescue human keratinocytes from chemotherapy drug-cytotoxicity, thus supporting the clinical efficacy of scalp cooling," he added.

In addition to providing evidence of how the treatment works, the Centre has also been working on developing innovative scalp cooling-related treatments and individual 3D-printed cooling caps. This has involved a collaboration of researchers from across two of the University’s schools of study, the School of Applied Sciences and the School of Art, Design and Architecture.

"This latest project builds upon our previous research," continued Dr Georgopoulos.

"We had already demonstrated that if you cool at just 3 or 4 degrees lower, this can be the difference between the cells surviving or dying. We have now shown that a few degrees in temperature can also mean more dramatic reduction in chemotherapy drug uptake by cells."

"The more evidence we can provide, the more data the designers have to facilitate the design of a better cap. A better fit could mean more of a reduction in temperature, so more effective cooling means more survival of the follicles, leading to a better outcome."

The percentage of hair lost can be further reduced when scalp cooling is combined with the application of a topical agent. One of the Centre’s tasks has been to develop the best way to deliver this agent to hair follicles on the scalp.

Richard Paxman, CEO of Paxman, added: "This latest research brings us one step closer to achieving our vision of ‘zero hair loss’ for cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy treatment. This is fabulous news and is a ground-breaking step in the field of scalp cooling research."

Hair loss can be a traumatic side effect for many patients undergoing chemotherapy. Scalp cooling provides the only real alternative to hair loss resulting in a high level of retention or complete hair preservation, improving patients’ self-confidence and creating positive attitudes towards treatment.

The Paxman Scalp Cooling System (also known as the 'cold cap') is the world-leading hair loss prevention system for chemotherapy patients. It has been used by over 100,000 patients in 40 countries and is responsible for helping patients keep their hair and retain normality during chemotherapy. The cap works by lowering scalp temperature before, during and after the administration of chemotherapy.

The concept behind the system came when the mother of four, Sue Paxman, experienced first-hand the trauma of chemotherapy-induced hair loss. Paxman’s scalp-cooling cap is made from lightweight, biocompatible silicone that is soft and flexible, providing a snug yet comfortable fit during treatment.

About Paxman

Paxman is the leading global expert in scalp cooling, for the prevention of hair loss during chemotherapy. The concept behind the technology came when mother of four, Sue Paxman, experienced first-hand the trauma of chemotherapy induced hair loss. The company has since been on a personal journey to ensure Sue’s legacy lives on by helping women around the globe minimise chemotherapy-induced hair loss and contribute to their quality of life.

Backed by leading oncologists from around the world, the system has achieved global success in many hospitals and specialist cancer treatment centres. To find out more, visit www.paxmanscalpcooling.com

Reference

  1. Christopher Dunnill, Khalidah Ibraheem, Michael Peake, Myria Ioannou, Megan Palmer, Adrian Smith, Andrew Collett, Nikolaos T. Georgopoulos. Cooling-mediated protection from chemotherapy drug-induced cytotoxicity in human keratinocytes by inhibition of cellular drug uptake. PLOS One. October 15, 2020. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0240454

Further Information and Contact

For more information or to request an interview with Paxman please contact: Julia Price, DD: +44 (0) 7737 864878 Email: julia@juliaprice.co.uk

Source

Nicole Cox, Media and Client Services Executive
Tel: +44 (0)1223 627113      ncox@lifesciencenewswire.com

 

 

How Vitamins, Steroids and Potential Antivirals might Affect SARS-CoV-2

Study indicates that some vitamins, steroids and antivirals could bind to the Spike protein, and may inhibit virus infectivity, whereas high cholesterol may enable the virus

Evidence is emerging that vitamin D – and possibly vitamins K and A – might help combat COVID-19.  A new study from the University of Bristol published in the journal of the German Chemical Society Angewandte Chemie has shown how they – and other antiviral drugs – might work.[1] The research indicates that these dietary supplements and compounds could bind to the viral spike protein and so might reduce SARS-CoV-2 infectivity.  In contrast, cholesterol may increase infectivity, which could explain why having high cholesterol is considered a risk factor for serious disease.

Recently, Bristol researchers showed that linoleic acid binds to a specific site in the viral spike protein, and that by doing so, it locks the spike into a closed, less infective form. Now, a research team has used computational methods to search for other compounds that might have the same effect, as potential treatments. They hope to prevent human cells becoming infected by preventing the viral spike protein from opening enough to interact with a human protein (ACE2). New anti-viral drugs can take years to design, develop and test, so the researchers looked through a library of approved drugs and vitamins to  identify those which might bind to this recently discovered ‘druggable pocket’ inside the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein.

The team first studied the effects of linoleic acid on the spike, using computational simulations to show that it stabilizes the closed form. Further simulations showed that dexamethasone – which is an effective treatment for COVID-19 – might also bind to this site and help reduce viral infectivity in addition to its effects on the human immune system.

The team then conducted simulations to see which other compounds bind to the fatty acid site. This identified some drugs that have been found by experiments to be active against the virus, suggesting that this may be one mechanism by which they prevent viral replication such as, by locking the spike structure in the same way as linoleic acid.

The findings suggested several drug candidates among available pharmaceuticals and dietary components, including some that have been found to slow SARS-CoV-2 reproduction in the laboratory. These have the potential to bind to the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein and may help to prevent cell entry.

The simulations also predicted that the fat-soluble vitamins D, K and A bind to the spike in the same way making the spike less able to infect cells. 

Dr Deborah Shoemark, Senior Research Associate (Biomolecular Modelling) in the School of Biochemistry, who modelled the spike, explained: “Our findings help explain how some vitamins may play a more direct role in combatting COVID than their conventional support of the human immune system.

“Obesity is a major risk factor for severe COVID. Vitamin D is fat soluble and tends to accumulate in fatty tissue. This can lower the amount of vitamin D available to obese individuals. Countries in which some of these vitamin deficiencies are more common have also suffered badly during the course of the pandemic. Our research suggests that some essential vitamins and fatty acids including linoleic acid may contribute to impeding the spike/ACE2 interaction. Deficiency in any one of them may make it easier for the virus to infect.”

Pre-existing high cholesterol levels have been associated with increased risk for severe COVID-19. Reports that the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein binds cholesterol led the team to investigate whether it could bind at the  fatty acid binding site. Their simulations indicate that it could bind,  but that it may have a destabilizing effect on the spike’s locked conformation, and favour the open, more infective conformation.

Dr Shoemark continued: “We know that the use of cholesterol lowering statins reduces the risk of developing severe COVID and shortens recovery time in less severe cases. Whether cholesterol de-stabilizes the “benign”, closed conformation or not, our results suggest that by directly interacting with the spike, the virus could sequester cholesterol to achieve the local concentrations required to facilitate cell entry and this may also account for the observed loss of circulating cholesterol post infection.”

Professor Adrian Mulholland, of Bristol’s School of Chemistry, added: “Our simulations show how some molecules binding at the linoleic acid site affect the spike’s dynamics and lock it closed. They also show that drugs and vitamins active against the virus may work in the same way. Targeting this site may be a route to new anti-viral drugs. A next step would be to look at effects of dietary supplements and test viral replication in cells.”

Alison Derbenwick Miller, Vice President, Oracle for Research, said: “It’s incredibly exciting that researchers are gaining new insights into how SARS-CoV-2 interacts with human cells, which ultimately will lead to new ways to fight COVID-19. We are delighted that Oracle’s high-performance cloud infrastructure is helping to advance this kind of world-changing research. Growing a globally-connected community of cloud-powered researchers is exactly what Oracle for Research is designed to do.”

The team included experts from Bristol UNCOVER Group, including Bristol’s Schools of Chemistry, Biochemistry, Cellular and Molecular Medicine, and Max Planck Bristol Centre for Minimal Biology, and Bristol Synthetic Biology Centre, using Bristol’s high performance computers and the UK supercomputer, ARCHER, as well as Oracle  cloud computing. The study was supported by grants from the EPSRC and the BBSRC.

Reference

  1. C Toelzer et al. Molecular simulations suggest vitamins, retinoids and steroids as ligands binding the free fatty acid pocket of SARS-CoV-2 spike protein. Angewandte Chemie Int. Ed. 10.1002/anie.202015639. https://doi.org/10.1002/anie.202015639. 19 January 2021.

Further Information

For more information about the University of Bristol’s coronavirus (COVID-19) research priorities visit: www.bristol.ac.uk/research/impact/coronavirus/research-priorities/

About Oracle for Research

Oracle for Research is a global community that is working to address complex problems and drive meaningful change in the world. The program provides scientists, researchers, and university innovators with high-value, cost-effective Cloud technologies, participation in Oracle research user community, and access to Oracle’s technical support network. Through the program’s free cloud credits, users can leverage Oracle’s proven technology and infrastructure while keeping research-developed IP private and secure.

Learn more at https://www.oracle.com/oracle-for-research/

Trademarks

Oracle and Java are registered trademarks of Oracle and/or its affiliates.

Contact Information

For further information or to arrange an interview with Dr Deborah Shoemark or Professor Adrian Mulholland please contact Joanne Fryer [Monday to Thursday], joanne.fryer@bristol.ac.uk , Mobile: +44 (0)7747 768805 or Caroline Clancy [Thursday/Friday],  caroline.clancy@bristol.ac.uk , Mobile: +44 (0)7776 170238 at the University of Bristol.

 

 

Refocussing Medical Training

by Edwin Salter PhD

It is unsurprising that institutions strive to extend themselves.  Self-interest, especially for those at the top of the pyramid, benefits as it expands.  The vertical dimension of professional elevation is readily controlled by multiplying grades, durations and complexity.  The medical profession seems to show that this becomes wasteful of resources and life and, worse still, is deleterious in outcome both for those with the hallowed title ‘doctor’ and all of us as patients.  This has consequences for those whose work is called alternative or complementary.

Medical selection is largely, and dubiously, based on academic ability at A-level; and thereafter, for example, GPs and dentists study for 5 years , GPs then adding 2 years foundation, and a psychiatrist studies 10 years  That there are problems of job satisfaction across the whole range of health occupations (‘low level’ carers upwards) is suggested by  burn-out and suicide rates.  (Factor analysis needed as this sector has obvious advantages of intelligence, security etc.  Interestingly, the managerial sector seems least troubled.)  Our appalling Covid results (effectively the highest death rates in the world despite the advantages of a forewarned island with a once great NHS) should prompt alarm.

Plainly the common disorders provide most of the work of GP physicians.  At the simplest, the obvious generator of illness now is obesity linked to lifestyle, diet and exercise (in England 2 out of 3 are overweight), the pre-emptive solution needing not brilliant expertise but sensible encouragement, perhaps also  legislation.  Complex conditions and puzzles that escape interested and searching attempt at diagnosis would be more effectively referred onward to a minority further trained.

As for surgeons, the reality in developed countries is that they mainly work in a narrow territory where familiarity and dexterity are key.  Similarly most dental work comprises a limited group of frequent tasks with the only special ability being fine motor skill.  The absurdity of requiring psychiatrists to have a detailed knowledge of anatomy, physiology and medication in general, as distinct from in particular, seems obvious.  Clinical psychology training (BPS - about 7 years) matchingly extends.

It is notable how practical contact and attention giving are largely by supplementary occupations, from physiotherapists to counsellors.  Physicians arrive at prescriptions, and it is interesting how this matching of declared symptom (perhaps with a test report) with prescription is currently (due to Covid) by distant communication; and computers are proposed as equally good substitutes. 

Power gives authority, and medical history suggests a profession notably disinclined to identify its mistakes or to listen to outsiders.  Successful intrusions are rare - the important (if blindingly obvious) pre-op check list and attention to general pre-op fitness.

It is also disgraceful that this country imports so many staff at all levels, depriving their own poorer countries where the failure to match selection and training to actual need is even more unforgiveable.  Common needs in the less developed world range from contraception (for happier families and global sustainability) to basic hygiene and simple but life changing interventions possible for a technician with just one skill.

The focus on a curative top echelon seriously detracts from public health problems affecting many,  for example air pollution.  These generate much economic and health damage but their prevention is largely non-medical.  Also downgraded from attention as marginal (far less dramatic than rare diagnoses and heroic surgery) are conditions such as poor posture and movement, stress, and a lack of social and life skills, all harms (back pain, isolation, debt …) to well-being in society generally.

The argument is that the requirement of protracted medical trainings is ill-matched to the pattern of need and actually diminishes thoughtful response and positive engagement with patients.  Redesigning the system would certainly broaden provision (note our health and longevity disparities by wealth, region and culture) and awareness, so promoting general public health, and be prudent economically.  At least plausibly, practitioners would also benefit and the quality of medical care.

Contact and Further Information

Edwin Salter PhD     kl.humanfactors@talktalk.net

 

 

COVID... What to Do if you Get Infected?

We have now completed our recommendations around what to do if you do get COVID. We have so many people messaging us and telling us about their success stories when treating with vitamin C so keep them coming through. It is great to see so many people with risk factors who are using high dose vitamin C and having very mild symptoms that aren’t lasting too long.

 

C 4 Covid Recommendations

https://www.vitaminc4covid.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/C4COVID_Recommendations.pdf

 

With COVID it is really vital that people start working on improving their immune system as soon as they notice symptoms. Or ideally right now, so that you have a stronger immune system for if you do catch this virus. We know vitamin C levels fall precipitously as a consequence of infection so optimising this is essential along with vitamin D and Zinc.

For many people who catch COVID they are asymptomatic and that is worth remembering. There is a percentage of patients who become symptomatic. Typical symptoms include; fever, cough, headache, myalgia (myalgia, being sore muscles), which is typical of influenza too. The severity of this varies and for many it will be mild but some may suffer more severe symptoms.

So Why Vitamin C?

The adrenal glands have 100 times more vitamin C than anywhere else in the body. It is also important to remember that humans, guinea pigs, a few fish and pets are the only species on this planet that actually don't synthesise vitamin C. Vitamin C actually is not really a nutrient. It's a stress hormone so that when sheep, or cats or dogs get stressed, they increase the vitamin C concentration, partly by being secreted by the adrenal gland. The adrenal gland secretes both cortisol, as well as vitamin C. In addition, the liver increases synthesis of vitamin C. We know this absolutely and categorically that vitamin C in other species is an important stress hormone.

Hospitalised patients with COVID are absolutely profoundly deficient in vitamin C. All of them actually meet the diagnostic criteria for scurvy. Just on that basis alone, there shouldn't be so much controversy about giving vitamin C; these people have a disease induced scurvy. The definition of scurvy is a disease caused by vitamin C deficiency.

We know vitamin C levels fall precipitously as a consequence of infection, which results in the cortisones not being able to work. And that means that the person's fight or flight mechanism designed to keep them alive, is not going to kick in.

Vitamin D and Zinc

The correlation between vitamin D deficiency and COVID has been well established. Interestingly those with very low levels are more likely to die from the disease. As a prevention strategy, it is worth testing your levels and optimising these but given we are in winter you can see our prevention dose us set at 3,000 IU a day. 

Zinc it's been known for a long time that people who are zinc deficient, have impaired immunity and higher risk of infection. What is fascinating though with covid, is that zinc ions actually interfere with viral replication, they interfere with the ability of the virus to replicate themselves, which is obviously a huge benefit. 

For those who have critical COVID and are in a hospital setting these vitamins and minerals support the medication protocol.

You can download a copy of these recommendations here and please do feel free to share.

What Next and How you can Help?

We will be sharing more over the coming weeks on our care home study and this is really coming together now so stay tuned. We still require further funds so if you can and want to support this project them please donate here.

https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/vitamin-c-4-covid  

We are still looking for an MP to take this to parliament. Frustratingly we seem to be getting a standard response from many. We will keep up our hard work on this but please do write to your MP and you can find the template here.

https://www.vitaminc4covid.com/newsletters/mp-letter/  

Do let us know who you’ve written to or bcc us in on the correspondence as we are tracking this with over 140 contacted so far.

From the VitaminC4Covid team, Patrick, Rob, Rebecca, Chantal, Andrew and Gaby

Contact and Further Information

Vitamin C 4 Covid <info@vitaminc4covid.com>

Affiliate organisations, if you want to work together then please do contact us on c4covd@gmail.com

 

 

Cryos Study Shows the COVID-19 Virus is not Detected in Human Semen

During 2020 Cryos scientists have investigated if semen can contain the COVID-19 virus and thereby pass it on to their sexual partners. Reassuringly, the Cryos study shows that the infection cannot be transmitted through semen. The study was carried out by the Danish sperm and egg bank Cryos International - USA based in Orlando, Florida USA. The study was approved by the Western Institutional Review Board and examined the semen samples from men whose average age was 32 years old. PCR tests were carried out on the ejaculates of men who had previously been diagnosed with COVID-19 at least one month previously. The average time between the first positive PCR-test for COVID-19 and the analysis of the ejaculate was six days.

Great News for Couples and Singles Going through Fertility Treatment

This is an interesting study in relation to COVID-19 in a wider perspective and of course also reassuring for the many people going through fertility treatment all over the world during the pandemic.

"We hoped that there would be no contamination risk connected to semen, so it is reassuring to have a clear indication that this is now verified," said Peter Reeslev, CEO at Cryos International. "Cryos has in the COVID-19 period closed down for new donors because of the uncertainty of the risk of contamination, but now have opened again based on the results of this new study."

In the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic fertility treatments were put on pause all over the world as a precaution. "Everyone waited until there could be more information known about this new virus," said Reeslev.

"With our knowledge from this study, we feel people should be free from fear and know that there is zero chance of contamination from the COVID-19 virus in semen being used in connection to fertility treatments."

The study was done in collaboration with two urologists from Orlando, Dr Patel and Dr Parekattil, together with Orlando reproductive endocrinologist, Dr Trolice, and Scott Michael PhD Department of Biological Sciences with technologist Lauren Paul - both from Florida Gulf Coast University, in Fort Meyers. The study will be published in the esteemed Journal of Assisted Reproduction and Genetics.

Danish Study also Investigates the Semen Quality

In addition to the concern about whether the COVID-19 virus could be present in semen, the scientists have been interested in learning if the virus has any long-term effects on semen quality. That question might also be answered very soon. In collaboration with the Danish Hvidovre Hospital and CooperSurgical, Cryos International is participating in a new study that is looking at the semen quality of men who have recovered from a COVID-19 infection.

"Several studies have pointed to an increased risk for decreased semen quality after a COVID-19 diagnoses. But these studies have been met with criticism from experts due to the small sample size and lack of transparency. Therefore, it is important that we investigate if the semen quality is affected by the virus both in the short and long term," Reeslev commented.

Does the Disease Course Matter?

This new study plans to take the participants in the study and have them provide a series of blood and semen samples, together with several PCR-tests, over a period of 6 months after being diagnosed with COVID-19. The intention is to discover whether the severity of the disease course can influence semen quality. It is anticipated that 50 Danish men aged between 18 and 60 years old will be recruited to the study. The results will be ready and reported by the autumn of 2021.

Professor Allan Pacey from the University of Sheffield (UK) and the chairman of the Cryos External Scientific Advisory Committee said

"These are two very important studies which will help us understand the impact of COVID-19 on the male reproductive system. The more we are able to learn about this virus, the better it will be for reproductive medicine so we can help men and women with their plans to start a family in the safest way possible".

About Cryos International

Cryos is the world's largest sperm bank, with over 1,000 donors. The Danish-based company distributes frozen donor sperm and eggs to more than 100 countries throughout the world and has helped conceive over 65,000 donor children. Cryos meets UK standards, has the world's widest selection of Non-OD Release and ID Release donors and can also point to the world's highest number of registered pregnancies- Cryos' vision is to help people make their dream of having a child come true. https://www.cryosinternational.com/

Contact and Further Information

Dennis Neve Christensen: Tel: 004561677464;  dennis@publico.dk

 

 

OCTAVE to Study Vaccine Responses in Patients with Impaired Immune Systems

A new UK study will seek to understand the immune response to COVID-19 vaccinations in patients with certain immunosuppressed conditions, including cancer.

The OCTAVE trial, which is funded by the Medical Research Council (MRC), is a collaborative research project involving groups in the Universities of Glasgow, Birmingham, Oxford, Liverpool, Imperial College London and Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust. Researchers will build on years of experience in understanding the immune system in the context of chronic conditions, to better determine the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines in these clinically at-risk patient groups.

People with cancer, inflammatory arthritis, diseases of the kidney or liver or who are having a stem cell transplant may be at increased risk of the more severe complications of COVID-19 infection. As a result, the rollout of vaccines is especially welcome for these vulnerable groups.  However, these underlying medical conditions and the treatment that such patients receive as part of their care, may weaken the immune system. Current evidence shows that people with these medical conditions may not obtain optimal protection from established vaccines. Patients with significant underlying diseases were generally excluded from COVID-19 vaccine studies to date – it is now important to confirm that the COVID-19 vaccines work well in such conditions. 

The OCTAVE study will investigate the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines being used in the UK in 2021, in up to 5,000 people within these patient populations. Using a variety of state-of-the-art immune tests performed on blood samples taken before and/or after COVID-19 vaccination, researchers will determine patients’ COVID-19 immune response and therefore the likelihood that vaccines will fully protect these groups from SARS-CoV-2 infection.

Researchers have begun recruiting patients at sites across the UK and will compare results from the study group against control groups of healthy people, without these underlying diseases, who also received COVID-19 vaccines. The OCTAVE study will evaluate patients who receive COVID-19 vaccines as part of the national vaccination programme.

Professor Iain McInnes, Head of the College of Medical, Veterinary and Life Sciences at the University of Glasgow who leads the OCTAVE study, said: “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. The OCTAVE study will give us invaluable new data to help us answer questions of this kind from our patients and their families.”

Scientists do not yet know how long COVID-19 vaccines provide immunity for, and there may be an ongoing vaccination requirement against the disease for years to come. This may be especially so in people with weakened immune systems, due to drug treatments and underlying disease. Results from the OCTAVE study will help to inform how best to vaccinate patients with chronic conditions, and protect them from SAAR-CoV-2 infection.

Professor Fiona Watt, Executive Chair of the Medical Research Council, which funded the study, said: “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. This will help ensure that those more at risk from infection receive the best protection possible.”

The OCTAVE study is sponsored by the University of Birmingham and is being run by the University’s Cancer Research UK Clinical Trials Unit (CRCTU).

University of Birmingham Professor Pam Kearns, Director of the CRCTU, said: “We are pleased to be supporting this important nationally collaborative study that will inform the best use of the COVID-19 vaccines to protect these vulnerable patients.”

Further Information 

For more information contact Elizabeth McMeekin or Ali Howard in the University of Glasgow Communications and Public Affairs Office on Tel: 0141 330 4831 or Tel: 0141 330 6557; Elizabeth.mcmeekin@glasgow.ac.uk  or ali.howard@glasgow.ac.uk  

 

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