AZ, J&J look to tweak vaccines to lower blood clot risk

July 15, 2021

J&J and AstraZeneca/University of Oxford are reportedly working with scientists to see if they can modify their COVID-19 vaccines to reduce the risk of blood clots. 

According to a report in the Wall Street Journal, which quoted sources close to the situation, the companies are in the early stages of researching modifications to their formulas. The efforts are being boosted by researchers in the EU, U.S., and Canada who are working to pinpoint the source of blood clots, which are rare but potentially deadly.

Tracking data from the EU and UK have shown that the chances of developing vaccine-induced thrombotic thrombocytopenia (VITT) — clotting combined with low blood platelets — from the AZ shot are about 1-2 per 100,000 vaccinations. Researchers in the U.S. have linked fewer cases to the J&J vax — about 0.3 per 100,000 shots. In May, data released by the CDC showed that 28 people developed blood clots from the J&J shot, three of whom died.

So far, it’s unclear whether or not the efforts to tweak the shots, which are both adenovirus vaccines, will be feasible from a commercial or regulatory point of view.