The Vaccine Response On Off Methotrexate (VROOM) trial investigated immune responses to COVID-19 vaccines in adults with autoimmune inflammatory conditions who took a two week break from methotrexate treatment after a COVID-19 booster vaccination.
Methotrexate is the most commonly used immune-suppressing drug – about 1.3 million people in the UK are prescribed it for conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis and psoriasis. Many of them were among the 2.2 million clinically extremely vulnerable people advised to shield during the first phase of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In the trial, half of the participants were asked to suspend methotrexate use for two weeks immediately after their third prime dose or booster of the COVID-19 vaccine, and half were asked to continue using it as usual. The trial team compared the spike-antibody levels between the two groups four weeks and twelve weeks after they had received a COVID-19 vaccine dose.
The scientists running the trial have now published their initial results in the Lancet Respiratory Medicine.
Journalists came to this briefing to hear the authors of the study explain and discuss the findings.
Prof Abhishek Abhishek, Professor of Rheumatology, University of Nottingham; and Honorary Consultant Rheumatologist, Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust
Prof Jonathan Cook, Associate Professor and lead statistician within the Oxford Clinical Trials Research Unit (OCTRU), University of Oxford
Prof Rosemary Boyton, Professor of Immunology and Respiratory Medicine, Imperial College London
This Briefing was accompanied by an SMC Roundup of Comments.