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BBC

Possible Trigger for Vaccine-Related Blood Clots Found

Rare AstraZeneca vaccine side effect could be caused by a protein

Cardiff University researchers were given emergency UK government funding to track down the possible cause of a rare side-effect of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID vaccine. The clots, known as vaccine-induced immune thrombotic thrombocytopenia, were linked to 73 deaths (out of about 50 million dosed) and caused some to seek alternate vaccines. 

The researchers believe that when the vaccine leaks into the bloodstream, it can attract the protein platelet factor 4. The immune system may react to the protein as if it was the virus, leading antibodies to attack the protein. An aggregate of antibodies could cause the blood clots seen in a few patients.

Though the vaccine has been estimated to have saved over a million people from fatal COVID, and though the risk of blood clots from COVID is higher than from the vaccine, people were still wary of the vaccine. The researchers' findings are the first step in coming up with solutions to the clotting issue, or at least narrowing down those likely to experience that side effect. 

For more, head over to BBC.