Hamilton researchers have recommended treatment for rare blood clotting

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Researchers at McMaster University are recommending a pair of treatments to fight Vaccine-induced thrombotic thrombocytopenia (VITT), identified in a small number of COVID-19 vaccine recipients.

A group from the McMaster Platelet Immunology Laboratory (MPIL), building off of previous investigations into a condition that prevents blood clotting, are suggesting that a combination of anti-clotting drugs with high doses of intravenous immunoglobulin — an antibody solution — may be effective against VITT.

VITT has been associated with but not definitively linked to the viral vector shots from Oxford-AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson.

The McMaster experts say the disorder occurs when antibodies attack a blood protein, called platelet factor 4 (PF4), which results in the activation of platelets in the blood, causing them to clump together and form clots.

The study on the McMaster treatment, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, surrounded three Canadian patients who received the AstraZeneca vaccine and subsequently developed VITT. Two suffered clotting in their legs and the third had clots blocking arteries and veins inside the brain.