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Study launched to investigate COVID-19 vaccine in young immunocompromised

Published on 17/05/22 at 10:11am

The UK’s largest kidney research charity has announced the launch of a study into the protection offered by COVID-19 vaccines for immunocompromised transplant patients between 12-17 years old. The study will be an extension of a study into how additional doses of COVID-19 vaccines protect immunocompromised adults.

The research project was launched in December of 2021, evaluating third doses in adult patients, and was supported by a coalition of funders including Kidney Research UK, The Medical Research Council, Blood Cancer UK, Vasculitis UK, and the Cystic Fibrosis Trust.

Dr Michelle Willicombe, the study lead at Imperial College London commented: “Information on how young, immunosuppressed people have responded to vaccination and the protection it affords them from infection is currently lacking, so we are delighted for the additional support so we can include children in MELODY to provide ongoing evidence. If we can understand more about how this group of people respond to vaccines, then this will inform future vaccination strategies and also identify those young people who are most at risk of catching Covid-19.”

Overall, there is a lack of information on how young, immunocompromised people within the age bracket of 12-17 years respond to vaccination. Immunocompromised people have remained particularly vulnerable to COVID-19, leaving an estimated 500,000 people in the UK worried over a heightened risk of the virus.

Dr Aisling McMahon, executive director of research, innovation and policy at Kidney Research UK shared: “We are starting to build a clearer picture on how vaccination has provided varying levels of protection within the immunosuppressed community, but we still have very little data on how well vaccines protect the younger members of this group. There cannot be a one size fits all approach to keeping all immunocompromised people safe and including data from this age group will allow for more effective strategies to be developed.”

The MELODY study was launched to provide vital insight into which patients remain vulnerable after vaccination. This in turn aims to work towards the development of bespoke strategies for exiting the pandemic for those who continue to remain most vulnerable.

Ana Ovey

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