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Study looking at human genetics and Covid vaccine immune responses

Scientists at the University of Oxford have carried out a study to investigate whether and how people’s genes influence how strong an immune response they mount after vaccination with either the Oxford-AstraZeneca or Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine.

The study has been published in Nature Medicine.

The scientists analysed DNA samples from 1,190 participants who’d enrolled in the University of Oxford’s COVID-19 vaccine clinical trials, as well as from 1,677 adults who had enrolled on the Com-COV research programme, and from children who had participated in clinical trials for the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine.

Journalists dialled in to this briefing to hear from the scientists who did the study discuss aspects such as:

– which genes in people determine how well their immune system responds to Covid vaccination?

– which bits of the immune system seem to respond differently with different versions of these genes?

– are there certain populations that tend to have specific versions of these genes?

– what is the normal role of these genes?

– are there implications?


Speakers included:

Prof Julian Knight, Professor of Genomic Medicine, Wellcome Centre for Human Genetics, University of Oxford

Dr Alexander Mentzer, Group Leader at the Wellcome Centre for Human Genetics, University of Oxford, and an Infectious Disease doctor

Dr Daniel O’Connor, University Research Lecturer and Senior Bioinformatician, Oxford Vaccine Group, University of Oxford


This Briefing was accompanied by an SMC Roundup of comments.

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