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New study to test third COVID-19 vaccine for people with weakened immune systems

We know many of you have had questions about the effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccine in those who are immunosuppressed. The Department of Health and Social Care’s (DHSC) announcement yesterday may help us to understand more about this over the coming months.  

DHSC have announced the launch of a new clinical trial to investigate whether a third dose of COVID-19 vaccine for people with weakened immune systems, gives a stronger immune response than two doses.  

The OCTAVE DUO study, co-funded by the government’s Vaccines Taskforce and UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) and led by the University of Glasgow and University of Birmingham, will analyse in detail the immune response of this group to the vaccine and the durability of this protection. It will also use healthcare records to determine whether any participants are later diagnosed with COVID-19. 

Patients included in the OCTAVE DUO study are people with lymphoid malignancies, immune mediated inflammatory diseases (including rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, vasculitis and inflammatory bowel disease), renal disease, solid tumours (including breast and lung cancers), haematopoietic stem-cell transplantation, hepatic and intestinal disease, and primary immune deficiency. 

Initial results are expected later this year to inform the UK’s COVID-19 vaccine deployment in these specific at-risk groups. The trial will follow the patients to mid-2022 and offer more detailed information at that stage about the immune responses that develop in these groups.  

This government-funded study follows initial data from the OCTAVE trial, carried out in cancer patients. The government is carefully considering the findings of the OCTAVE trial and will also consider any further appropriate advice – including from the independent Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) – for those who are immunosuppressed as part of regular reviews of the latest data and evidence on vaccine efficacy and effectiveness. 

This is great news for those who are immunosuppressed to understand more about the effectiveness of the vaccine to be able to manage risks effectively as well supporting the government in their decision making regarding these groups.  

Read the full press release here

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