The first thing to say is a massive thank you to everyone that has been involved so far – both in raising the funds for this study and signing up to take part. We couldn’t have got this far without you.
We have had a phenomenal response to this study. So far, in just over 4 months, we have recruited 320 people, and got hundreds of blood spots back. In the background, Nikki and her team have been working hard making up the packs, logging the blood spots when they come back, and making sure the assays are working perfectly.
So what next?
At the moment, we are selecting the blood spots to look at in the first round of analysis. Early information from Israel suggests that people on certain DMT, such as ocrelizumab have less of an antibody response to vaccination. By looking at this group in a bit more detail, and including factors such as the time since their last infusion, we may be able to shed a bit more light on how to time vaccines. We are also interested to look at the impact of different times between vaccine doses, and thanks to the number of people that have signed up we should be able to do this.
I’m really aware that it can feel like a really long time from signing up to getting any results. There are a few reasons for this. We need to get enough samples that are 4-6 weeks after vaccine 2 to make sense of all of the results – and this just takes time. Also, we need to have enough people in each “group” that we look at, so that we can be sure that we can trust the results, and that they aren’t just the result of one person having slightly odd results. There is a worry about rushing out results that are then not reliable enough, which isn’t the right thing to do.
We are also really interested to understand the longer term response to vaccination – its all very well knowing what happens immediately, but what are the implications of this over next winter? Will booster jabs change this (if they happen)? There are so many questions – and this study really gives us the basis to be able to answer these in the future.
If there is anyone who is under the care of BartsMS who is keen to take part in this study and hasn’t yet enrolled, please let us know! Its not too late at all. We are still very much recruiting – and the more people that we have in the study, the more representative we can make the groups that we study, and the more questions we can answer. If you want to get in touch, comment below or drop us a line – firstname.lastname@example.org
Please note that the opinions expressed here are those of DrRuth and do not necessarily reflect the positions of the Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry or Barts Health NHS Trust.