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The people found to be most at risk of Covid – new study as Eris variant emerges

Eris: New COVID-19 coronavirus variant detailed

Those most vulnerable to Covid in society were advised to get numerous Covid booster vaccinations.

Yet, enlightening research – led by Imperial College London – has identified a sub-section of people who had no antibodies after three vaccinations.

Dr Michelle Willicombe from the Department of Immunology and Inflammation explained the rationale for the MELODY study.

“We know from previous research that people who have a weakened immune system were more likely to catch COVID-19.

“They were also more likely to need to go into hospital for treatment or die from COVID-19.”

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Dr Willicombe explained: “Vaccines trigger the immune system to make antibodies.

“But if your immune system is weak, you may not produce enough antibodies needed to fight infection and prevent serious illness.”

For the MELODY research project, doctors and researchers – from numerous institutions – drew conclusions based on more than 23,000 study participants.

Those who have a suppressed immune system could enrol in the research if they had at least three Covid vaccinations.

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More than 23,000 people took part by doing a home finger-prick antibody test and reporting the results on the online portal.

One in five participants who had a solid organ transplant, a rare autoimmune disease, or blood cancer affecting lymphocytes had no Covid antibodies after three or more vaccinations.

Vulnerable groups most likely to have no Covid antibodies:

  1. Those who’ve had a solid organ transplant
  2. Blood cancer affecting lymphocytes
  3. Rare autoimmune disease

Some medications that weaken the immune system also reduce the likelihood of having antibodies.

People were found to have more Covid antibodies if they:

  • Were younger
  • Had more vaccine doses
  • Previously had Covid.

Dr Willicombe said: “Clinically vulnerable patients who are at increased risk are encouraged to attend if they are invited for a booster vaccine, in order to get the best protection against COVID-19.”

Such research suggests groups less likely to have Covid antibodies could be offered antibody testing and targeted interventions, such as further vaccine doses.

The study findings are published in The Lancet Rheumatology.

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