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15th June 2022

Results of the Birmingham study published

The Birmingham Covid Vaccination study, in which several hundred of you took part has just been published. This looked at antibody responses to Covid vaccination in patients living with CLL.

In practical terms, and as the situation evolves with the Omicron variant, the advice is:

  • Continue to follow the nationally recommended precautions (including vaccinations) to prevent catching Covid
  • Continue to hold a supply of lateral flow tests at home and do a test if you develop any Covid symptoms
  • If you test positive, access COVID medications (antiviral tablets or monoclonal antibody infusion)  from your local                                                          Covid Medication Delivery Unit as soon as possible.  

If you would like to know more, this is their summary of the Implications from the results of the study so far:

• Antibody responses following dual Covid-19 vaccination are improved in patients with CLL following the 3rd dose but 20% still lack an antibody response and this does not improve with a further dose.

• Those with low serum immunoglobulins, taking BTKi (such as ibutrinib and acalabrutinib) or about to start therapy appear most at risk for failing to generate an antibody response.

• The poor Omicron neutralisation following the 3rd vaccine dose suggests an ongoing risk of infection.

• There has been an increase in breakthrough infections since Omicron emerged, but hospitalisation rates are falling. However, these remain above rates seen in the general population.

• It remains difficult to provide advice for individual patients as to the protective value of individual antibody or cellular immune measurements

• Patients should be advised to continue to follow nationally recommended precautions to prevent catching infection

• We advise patients with CLL to do a lateral flow test if they develop any symptoms suggestive of COVID-19 and access COVID medications from the COVID Medications Delivery Units at the earliest opportunity.

Dr Helen Parry; Dr Graham McIlroy;Professor Guy Pratt ;Dr Shankara Paneesha

You can read the complete published paper here.