Study Finds New Links Between AstraZeneca Vaccine and Rare Blood Clots

Blood clots that are a rare side effect of the AstraZeneca Vaccine, are more commonly caused by COVID-19.

Study Finds New Links Between AstraZeneca Vaccine and Rare Blood Clots

Scientists believe they may have discovered the trigger that cause extremely rare blood clot complications due to Oxford/AstraZeneca's COVID vaccine.

A team of researchers from Cardiff and the US said that they have proof to show that a protein in the blood is attracted to a major component of the vaccine, which could be triggering blood clots in some people after vaccination, reported BBC.

According to the study, the adenovirus used by the vaccine binds with a particular protein in the blood known as platelet factor 4 (PF4).

Researchers of the study believe this may lead to a chain reaction in the immune system that could be behind the dangerous blood clots.

This condition is popularly known as vaccine-induced immune thrombotic thrombocytopenia (VITT).

Concerns regarding the rare side effect of dangerous blood clots in some people post vaccination put the world on high alert earlier this year when it was first reported.

Health experts were forced to offer alternative vaccines to people under 40 in UK.

This is what led to a detective hunt by the Cardiff team, who were joined by scientists of AstraZeneca.

The team was given emergency funding by the government to conduct the research, reported BBC.

What Caused Rare Blood Clots in People Inocculated With the Astrazeneca Vaccine?

A spokeswoman from AstraZeneca said that one has a higher chance of developing blood clots from COVID infections, than from the vaccines. The complete explanation behind this needs to be established.

She also said that this research is not definitive yet, reported BBC.

The clues that helped the researchers explore the rare blood clots are as follows:

  • Higher risk of clots were noticed with only some of the vaccine technologies.

  • People who developed clots had rare antibodies that attacked a protein in the blood.

According to a study published in the journal Science Advances, the outer surface of the adenovirus attracts the platelet factor four protein like a magnet.

"The adenovirus has an extremely negative surface, and platelet factor four is extremely positive and the two things fit together quite well."
Prof Alan Parker, researcher at Cardiff University, as quoted in BBC News

The vaccine-induced immune thrombotic thrombocytopenia clots have caused 73 deaths among the 50 million doses of AstraZeneca given in the UK, reported BBC.

Professor Parker has said that the chances of developing blood clots are very small so one needs to focus on the bigger picture|that is the number of lives the vaccine has saved from COVID-19.

According to reports, AstraZeneca has saved more than a million lives around the world.

Final Research by the Cardiff Team

A University of Oxford spokesperson said to BBC, " We continue to follow with interest any new developments and investigation into potential causes for these very rare side effects associated with the vaccine, whilst being reassured by real-world effectiveness data that the vaccine remains a highly effective tool for combating this pandemic."

The Cardiff team hopes that their findings can help to improve the development of adenovirus-based vaccines in the future, thus reducing the risk of rare events.

(Written with inputs from BBC News and The Guardian.)

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