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Versiti launches test for vaccine-related blood clot issues

Launch follows reports of very rare blood clots connected to J&J's vaccine

Versiti has launched antibody tests for suspected vaccine-related blood clot issues – thrombotic-thrombocytopenia (VITT) – in the US, amid concerns over a small number of blood clot cases related to AstraZeneca and J&J's COVID-19 vaccines.

Recently, cases of individuals developing blood clots with low platelet counts have been observed connected to Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine.

Before that, similar cases of very rare ‘unusual’ blood clots had been reported in a small number of AstraZeneca/Oxford University vaccine recipients.

Global regulators have since maintained that the vaccines benefits outweigh their risks, although warnings have been issued regarding the possibility of developing such blood clots.

In its review, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) said that a ‘plausible’ explanation for the combination of blood clots and low blood platelets related to AstraZeneca and J&J's COVID-19 vaccines could be due to an immune response.

This immune response leads to a condition that is similar to heparin-induced thrombocytopenia (HIT) that can be seen in patients treated with the anticoagulant heparin.

Versiti’s tests determine the presence of platelet-activating antibodies in the blood – the presence of these antibodies is believed to be a ‘key’ finding following the blood clot cases related to AstraZeneca and J&J's COVID-19 vaccines.

These antibodies, says Versiti, are similar to those seen in HIT – when a patient has these antibodies, alternate anticoagulation therapies must be implemented.

"Accurate assessment of VITT is critical to guiding appropriate drug selection and management of patients with blood clot side effects," said Ruchika Sharma, associate medical director, platelet immunology laboratory at Verstiti.

"Patients receiving incorrect therapies could be at risk for serious bleeding complications or, in some cases, worsening of their existing blood clot(s). This testing menu leverages Versiti's decades of experience in immune platelet disorders, to provide physicians with the necessary tools to aid in the care and management of patients with suspected VITT,” she added.

"For more than 40 years, Versiti has been tirelessly researching cellular and molecular abnormalities in blood-related conditions including immune platelet disorders and HIT," added Brian Curtis, senior laboratory director, platelet immunology laboratory at Versiti.

"Versiti's long and proud history of scientific discovery in blood clotting puts us in a unique position to best aid physicians as they care for patients with suspected VITT."

Article by
Lucy Parsons

29th April 2021

From: Healthcare

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