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The risk of developing dangerous symptoms of COVID-19 may be increased in people who are older and also in people of any age who have other serious health problems such as heart or lung conditions, weakened immune systems, obesity, or diabetes. The virus can cause more serious health consequences for those with weaker immune systems. In a new study, the vaccinations and how they can help with cancer patients’ antibodies was further investigated.
Cancer patients are highly vulnerable to catching COVID-19.
Their weakened immune system makes cancer patients more likely to suffer from severe symptoms caused by the novel coronavirus.
Researchers have found, however, that those patients who receive two doses of the vaccine helps to greatly protect them against COVID-19.
The study found that after their second dose of the vaccine, 86 percent of patients tested positive for Covid-fighting antibodies.
A study of 73 million patients in the USA, of whom 273,000 had been diagnosed with cancer in the last year and 16,570 were diagnosed with COVID-19, patients with cancer had greatly increased odds of COVID-19 infection.
Odds of infection were highest for patients with recently diagnosed leukaemia, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and lung cancer.
The study found that mortality was found to be higher in patients with cancer who develop COVID-19: patients with cancer and COVID-19 have a greater risk of mortality (14.9 percent) than patients with COVID-19 without cancer (5.3 percent) and patients with cancer without COVID-19 (4.0 percent).
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In a new study published in JAMA Oncology, vaccines effectiveness in helping to reduce cancer patients’ risk was analysed.
The study concentrated on the Pfizer vaccine and studied cancer patients receiving treatment at the Division of Oncology of Rambam Health Care Campus in Israel.
A total of 232 cancer patients were involved in the study who presented solid tumours and were all vaccinated at the start of the year with tests and follow-ups conducted through to March.
The researchers collected blood samples from their patients after both vaccine doses and tested these samples for antibodies – those immune system molecules that indicate a patient has protection against a disease.
The second antibody test occurred two weeks after patients’ second dose, when vaccine recipients are considered to be fully vaccinated.
The study found that after their first dose, only 29 percent of the cancer patients tested positive for Covid antibodies.
However, after their second dose, far more of the cancer patients had developed immunity with 86 percent testing positive for antibodies.
In the group of cancer patients who were antibody-negative, 74 percent were going through chemotherapy, a treatment known for weakening a person’s immune systems.
The researchers suggest that more work is needed to identify specific types of chemotherapy that may be more likely to inhibit antibody production.
The results indicate that cancer patients may build up immunity more slowly after vaccination, wrote the researchers.
Many different factors can affect response to vaccination, including cancer type, treatment type, timing of treatment relative to vaccination, as well as a whole host of non-cancer factors.
Numerous studies have been undertaken using blood samples from a small number of people with cancer.
As research continues on vaccine effectiveness for cancer patients who are at high risk for being infected with COVID-19 and falling severely ill some scientists have suggested booster shots as a way to ensure full protection.
Scientists have worried that the same immune system weakness which causes cancer patients to be more vulnerable to Covid may also prevent the vaccines from working.
Past studies on the topic have shown that the Covid vaccines can provide cancer patients with some immunity, although the level of protection may vary based on cancer type and treatment regimens.
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