Global group to study organ transplant recipients' response to COVID-19 vaccination

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The Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations is providing $3.1 million to co-fund a study that will investigate the immune response to COVID-19 vaccination among organ transplant recipients and other immunosuppressed groups. 

A group of health organizations from Norway will provide an additional $3.6 million for the research, according to a July 6 news release.

Researchers aim to enroll at least 6,000 immunosuppressed people and 10,000 health volunteers. Participants — all who have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 — will be recruited in Norway. 

B-cell and T-cell responses will be evaluated, and participants who demonstrate a low or no immune response will be offered a booster shot. 

"Given the size of this potentially at-risk population, there is an urgent need to gather these data to guide national and global vaccinations strategies, such as COVAX — the global mechanism for equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines — and to optimize the management of immunocompromised patients around the world," the study announcement said.

In the U.S., smaller studies have found many organ transplant recipients and blood cancer patients don't mount a sufficient antibody response after being fully vaccinated against COVID-19. However, experts caution that antibody response isn't the only measure of immune response to vaccination, underlining the need for larger scale studies such as this one on COVID-19 vaccine efficacy among immunocompromised patients. 

 

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