By Saumu Juma

A team of scientists have found that the cause of blood clotting in some people after being vaccinated by Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine is due to a protein in the blood which is attracted by a key component in the vaccine.

According to the experts from Cardiff and Arizona State Universities in United States, the attraction causes a chain reaction in the immune system which results to the clots.

The report published on Science Advances journal suggest that the problem is linked to the vaccine’s use of another harmless virus — an adenovirus — to deliver a coronavirus gene into human cells, in order to train the immune system to recognize and battle the virus.

The experts indicated that an adenovirus used to shuttle the Corona virus genetic material into the cells can leak into the bloodstream and bind it with a protein known as the palette factor 4 (PF4) responsible for the natural clotting process and this could make the body release antibodies against the protein causing platelets to cluster and blood clots to form.

Professor Alan Parker, one of the experts from Cardiff University said that vaccine-induced immune thrombocytopenia and thrombosis (VITT) only happens to a few people whose immune system reacts with the vaccine.

The research team hopes that with further understanding of the condition, a solution shall be found on how to counter it.

“With a better understanding of the mechanism by which PF4 and adenoviruses interact there is an opportunity to engineer the capsid, or outer shell of the vaccine, to prevent this interaction occurring,” Dr. Parker said in a news release.

“We hope our findings can be used to better understand the rare side effects of these new vaccines and potentially to design new and improved vaccines to turn the tide on this global pandemic.”

Early this year, medical experts from the U.S were trying to dismiss claims that AstraZeneca is harmful to people who take it as the uptake of the vaccine dropped from different countries in the world including Yemen and Australia.

The success of this study might restore the uptake of the vaccine as people will be more guaranteed not to experience this side effect afterwards.