Monday 27 June 2022 11:39 PM Millions of 'shielders' could be asked to stop treatment for two weeks after ... trends now

Monday 27 June 2022 11:39 PM Millions of 'shielders' could be asked to stop treatment for two weeks after ... trends now
Monday 27 June 2022 11:39 PM Millions of 'shielders' could be asked to stop treatment for two weeks after ... trends now

Monday 27 June 2022 11:39 PM Millions of 'shielders' could be asked to stop treatment for two weeks after ... trends now

Hundreds of thousands of vulnerable Britons could be asked to stop taking immune-suppressing drugs when they get a Covid booster vaccine this autumn.

Researchers have found pausing methotrexate treatment for a fortnight doubles the antibody response patients get from a top-up jab. And the benefits lasted for three months. 

Roughly 1.3million people, mostly arthritis and eczema patients, are prescribed the drug in Britain.

Many patients reliant on methotrexate were asked to shield during the first wave of the pandemic because the drug left them more prone to falling severely ill.

Nottingham University scientists described their results, from a study of 250 adults, as 'remarkable'.

Nottingham University-led study found people who paused methotrexate treatment for two weeks after their third booster had twice antibody response 12 weeks after as those who didn't

Nottingham University-led study found people who paused methotrexate treatment for two weeks after their third booster had twice antibody response 12 weeks after as those who didn't

If adopted, it may theoretically mean vulnerable patients have better, longer-lasting protection against Covid.

Results have already been sent to the Government's vaccine advisory panel, which could recommend ministers adopt the tactic this Autumn.

UK guidelines told doctors to continue treatments as normal during the first rounds of vaccines. Guides in the US said to pause for a maximum of one week.

The academics warned immuno-suppressed patients not to take any actions without first consulting their doctor. 

Half of the participants saw flare-ups of their condition after pausing methotrexate, although most of these were mild.

The study, published in Lancet Respiratory Medicine, recruited 254 volunteers across England and Wales from September 30, 2021, to March 3 this year.

They had all received at least two doses of the Covid vaccine already and had been on methotrexate for at least three months.

Only people with conditions safe enough to pause treatment were included, such as those with arthritis, eczema and psoriasis — a condition that causes flaky patches of skin that form scales.

Researchers split all the participants into two groups of 127. Half had their treatment paused for two weeks, while the others continued as normal.

No10 confirms it's watching emergence of two Omicron sub-variants 

Downing Street today confirmed it is keeping tabs on the two Omicron variant spin-offs responsible for a recent spike in Covid infections.

Boris Johnson's official spokesman claimed the situation was being monitored 'very closely' amid early signs that hospitalisations are also starting to rise. He insisted the Government was not considering imposing further curbs at this point and would stick to its 'living with Covid' plan.

Covid cases have nearly doubled in a fortnight in England and more than 1,000 virus-infected patients are being admitted each day.

The outbreak has been fuelled

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