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Thousands of immunosuppressed people, including patients at Oxford University Hospitals (OUH), have the chance to take part in a landmark new study investigating which people are still at the greatest risk of COVID-19 infection after vaccination.

Person receiving a vaccination © National Cancer Institute via Unsplash

Researchers hope the STRAVINSKY study’s findings will provide everyone from clinicians and policymakers to patients and the general public with detailed, up-to-date information on the impact of booster vaccinations.

Professor Eleanor Barnes, of the University of Oxford’s Nuffield Department of Medicine, is leading the Oxford part of the study. She said: “We know that COVID-19 infections disproportionately affect those with weakened immune systems. While most of the population seems to have moved on from the pandemic, many of these patients are still shielding.

“STRAVINSKY aims to help us identify which individuals and patient groups are most clinically vulnerable to COVID-19 infection. We hope that, at the end of the study, our findings will inform future guidance for immunocompromised patients – we want to be able to reassure those who fear they are at high risk from COVID-19 but may not be; and to pinpoint those who remain extremely vulnerable to the virus.”

The two-year study has received 2.8m in funding from the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR). Oxford is one of four main centres for the study, the others being Birmingham, Southampton and Imperial.

The STRAVINSKY study (Stratification of Clinically Vulnerable People for COVID-19 Risk using Antibody Testing) will recruit 3,000 immunocompromised patients; 2,600 will receive finger-prick antibody tests, whilst the remaining 400 get more comprehensive immune analyses.

Read the full story on the NIHR Oxford Biomedical Research Centre website